Water Funding Task Force Continues Travels

8/30/2013 8:00:00 AM

The Water Funding Task Force, created with the passage of LB 517 earlier this year, continues its travels and meetings around the state to learn more about water issues and challenges facing Nebraska. Recent meetings have been held in the Republican, Blue, and Central Platte Basins. The next meeting scheduled Thursday and Friday of this week in the Omaha area will focus on the Missouri River and Lower Platte basins.

The meetings are a mixture of presentations -- at each meeting area NRDs, irrigation districts, and others to give presentations on water issues in their area -- and discussions on funding priorities and sources. The Task Force is to issue a report by the end of the year on priorities for funding needs in four critical categories and provide recommendations for sources of funding. The Task Force has discussed criteria and other means to evaluate projects, programs and activities to determine priorities.

At its last meeting, Task Force members were also asked to brainstorm on possible funding sources. Potential sources listed included sales tax, lottery proceeds, excise tax, energy tax, tax on bottled drinks, water usage tax, tax on irrigated acres, fuel tax, among others. Discussions on the weighting criteria and funding sources are expected to continue this week.

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