Reclamation Releases Compact Water as ordered by NE DNR

Media Contact: Aaron Thompson, (308) 345-1027

For Release: April 08, 2013

BILLINGS, Mont. -- The Bureau of Reclamation is responding to the order from the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) by directing the release of more than 13,000 acre-feet (af) of water from four federally managed reservoirs. The Release Order includes releases from Swanson Lake (3,232 af), Enders Reservoir (452 af), Hugh Butler Lake (1,984 af) and Harry Strunk Lake (7,548 af), totaling approximately 13,200 af. The releases started Tuesday morning and will continue at a reasonable rate of flow so that releases are completed by April 30.

In an effort to ensure Nebraska's compliance with the Republican River Compact, Nebraska DNR issued an order on January 1, 2013, putting in effect a Compact Call Year as defined by the current Natural Resource Districts Integrated Management Plans (IMPs). As a result, Nebraska DNR issued Closing Notices on Reclamation's reservoirs in the Republican River Basin prohibiting the storage of surface water flows until further notice. Reclamation has been working with Nebraska DNR to assist them in offsetting the projected shortfall associated with the IMPs.

"Reclamation follows Nebraska state law as it relates to water management," said Nebraska-Kansas Area Manager Aaron Thompson. "We are working toward releasing water in the most reasonable manner to meet the order from the Nebraska Director of Natural Resources."

Reclamation has been working with Nebraska since January to help them be in compliance, proposing two options: having the Army Corps of Engineers frontload water from Harlan County Lake (HCL) sediment pool to offset Nebraska's expected 2013 overuse of their Compact allocation, or having Nebraska Bostwick Irrigation District frontload water supply from their 2012 storage water to the Kansas Bostwick Irrigation District, which would offset Nebraska's forecasted shortfall. Both of these proposals have been rejected by the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, which moved forward requiring releases from Reclamation reservoirs.

Republican River water is allocated to the States of Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas through the Republican River Compact the three states agreed to, and which was approved by Congress in 1943.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.

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