Introduction and Background: The Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, working in conjunction with Natural Resources Districts and a variety water users and water-related interests throughout the Platte River Basin, has been conducting focused water-planning efforts throughout the Basin since 2004. These water planning efforts consist of Basin-Wide Plans, Integrated Management Plans (plans developed for an individual NRD), and drought plans, along with work in conjunction with Nebraska’s interstate compacts, decrees, and agreements. Particular attention is often given to the interstate components during water planning efforts to ensure that Nebraska fulfills its obligations and that our state’s water users receive the full benefits of Nebraska’s water entitlements. One area of focus is to ensure Nebraska’s full entitlements under the South Platte Compact are realized and protected for the future of all Nebraskans.
To further advance these efforts in the South Platte River Basin, the Legislature passed LB1015 during the 2022 legislative session in conjunction with funding that authorizes the Department of Natural Resources to continue to advance preliminary planning and design for infrastructure necessary to fully protect Nebraska’s non-irrigation-season flows (October 15 – April 1) authorized under the terms of the South Platte Compact.
In adopting LB1015, the Legislature found that it is essential to the economic prosperity, health, and welfare of the people of the State of Nebraska, and to the environmental health of the entire Platte River Basin, to protect Nebraska's full entitlement to the flows of the South Platte River as provided for in the South Platte River Compact. The Legislature authorized the Department to develop, construct, manage, and operate the Perkins County Canal Project (project as named in South Platte Compact) and has provided preliminary funding ($53.5M) to continue advancing these efforts.
The Department is moving forward with these activities. This webpage will be a resource for information related to project activities and will be updated as needed.
Timeline - Timeline of Recent Events Related to the South Platte Compact
South Platte Fact Sheet #1 - Background on South Platte Compact
South Platte Fact Sheet #2 - Colorado’s Growing Demands on the South Platte River
South Platte Fact Sheet #3 - How Inaction Impacts Nebraska
South Platte Fact Sheet #4 - PERKINS COUNTY CANAL PROJECT - JANUARY 2023 UPDATE
Information About the South Divide Canal (Perkins County Canal) Project:
Engineering Study on South Divide Canal - USBR Evaluation of Project Elements, 1982
Draft Economic Benefits Analysis of South Platte River Water Supply Protection - Preliminary Estimate of
Project Costs Summary - Preliminary Estimate of Project Costs
Nebraska Perkins County Canal Project Plan (sent to Colorado June 21, 2022)
Colorado Correspondence (received by Nebraska July 14, 2022)
Nebraska Request for Water Administration for South Platte Compact, Article VI
(sent to Colorado December 12, 2022)
Colorado Correspondence (received by Nebraska December 15, 2022)
Colorado Correspondence (Received by Nebraska March 2, 2023)
Response to March 2, 2023 Colorado Correspondence (sent April 25, 2023)
Recent Activities in Colorado:
State of Colorado Senate Bill 22-126 - Colorado Legislation
Pioneering a Collaborative and Sustainable Water Future - Example of Colorado Water Project Aimed at
Reducing “Excess” Water Leaving Colorado
Perkins County Canal Project Design RFP:
Notification of Intent to Contract (January 18, 2023)