Pressure : 29.72 in
Dewpoint : 66.0 °
Wind : East
Republican River water conservation continues for farmers
After the crippling drought this season some farmers may have to limit their water usage along the Republican River. The extra conservation is needed to make sure Kansas receives enough water.
Many farmers are concerned about what this means for crops next year, especially after such a dry year. It all comes down to three states sharing a vital resource, the Republican River.
In a good year, it's twisting and turning, carving through the land. But in drought, you can walk across the bone dry riverbed.
"That's our main water source. It's a lot of recreational use as well as farm use," said Keller Ord.
The Republican River is split up between Nebraska, Kansas, and Colorado under the Republican River Compact.
Next year because of the dry conditions farmers along the river will have to limit their water usage.
"In a dry year, everybody needs all the water they can get."
The Nebraska Department of Natural Resources says the Upper and Lower Republican River Natural Resource Districts will need to impose additional water conservation measures next year in or to comply with the Republican River Compact.
"The biggest thing would be it would be really tough for the farmers along the Republican simply because they are limited to water, especially on the year we just went through with the drought and next year coming up not knowing how bad it's going to be again," said Gary Kohmetscher.
The vital resource has a big effect on local farmers.
"You know most of the farmers in this area, especially south of the river that's their main source for their crops. Up here we have some wells that we can use but there will be restrictions on those too," Ord said.
Keller Ord has a farm northeast of Red Cloud and relies on the Republican River.
"We wouldn't be able to get the higher yields that we normally get," said Ord.
When farmers don't do as well it's a trickle down for local businesses, like this feed store here in Red Cloud.
"When they do make money on their crops they do bring that business into town and spend the money," Kohmetscher said.
The issue has led to two lawsuits between Kansas and Nebraska, including one that's still pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Upper and Lower Republican River Natural Resource Districts will need to limit water use.
But the Middle Republican River is expected to be okay.
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