Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version



Cornhusker Economics, November 29, 2000,


Copyright 2000 University of Nebraska.


In 1997 the states of Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming signed a Cooperative Agreement (CA) which called for making 130,000 to 150,000 acre feet of additional water available for meeting endangered species needs along the Big Bend Reach of the Platte River. Three projects, one in each state, will contribute 70,000 acre feet towards this goal. The remaining 60,000 to 80,000 acre feet must be acquired thorough other means, the most likely being the purchase or leasing of rights to what is now irrigation water. If the CA is eventually implemented, all purchases and leases of irrigation water will be negotiated on a willing buyer and willing seller basis. The cost of the endangered species water will be shared by the three states and the federal government. Those interested in buying endangered species water are concerned about what it might cost, and those interested in selling are interested in potential profits.