October water symposium and law conference

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LINCOLN, Neb. - Basin-specific panels will look at water management in Nebraska at the University of Nebraska’s annual water symposium and water law conference Oct. 20 and 21.

The back-to-back events will be at Lincoln’s Nebraska Innovation Campus.

“At the first day’s symposium, panels will discuss what basin groups have concluded about state water policy and goals, objectives and problem areas in each basin,” said Lincoln attorney Lee Orton, who helped plan the symposium agenda with Prairie Fire publisher W. Don Nelson and Nebraska Water Center director Chittaranjan Ray.

Among the problems experienced in water management and planning for each of the state’s major river basins will be water supply, political structures, past management and development characteristics and other topics.

“The current state of water planning and management in each basin will be front-and-center in the discussions, along with unique and shared problem areas,” Ray said.

Panels cover, Upper Platte, Lower Platte, Republican, Blue and Niobrara basins. Panel members represent a very wide array of local, state, federal and private water interests.

Bob Swanson, director of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Nebraska Water Sciences Center will conclude morning discussions with an update on USGS research work in Nebraska.

Afternoon talks key on work being done by the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources from director Jeff Fassett and views from some of the state’s largest utilities, including Omaha’s Metropolitan Utilities District, Lincoln Water and the Omaha Public Power District.

An integrated management plan panel discussion will be led buy Christine Reed of the University of Nebraska, prior to Orton and Ray’s symposium wrap-up.

The following day NWC and the University of Nebraska College of Law present the Nebraska water law conference featuring the latest in Nebraska water law for attorneys and water professionals (though open to all).

Organizer Anthony Schutz of the Law College opens with sessions on Water Law 101 and updates in current water law followed by attorneys Mike Klein and Justin Lavene on “Takings claims.”

Attorney Don Blankenau then kicks off a conjunctive management session on western Nebraska’s N-CORPE project, followed by Upper Niobrara-White NRD manager Pat O’Brien on Niobrara transfers and Central Platte NRD manager Lyndon Vogt on short-term auctions in the Central Platte NRD.

Pre-lunch keynote speaker Roger Patterson will then speak on what California has learned from Nebraska as the Golden Gate state manages one of the worst long-term droughts in its history.

In the afternoon, Lincoln attorney Stephen Mossman will discuss landowner drainage liability and Drake University’s Jerry Anderson will talk about the recent Des Moines, Ia. water litigation followed by water quality discussions on Nebraska nitrates by Michael Linder and lessons from Flint, Michigan by Rick Kubat of Omaha’s Metropolitan Utilities District. Attorney Lash Chaffin will explore the ethical dimensions of Flint, Michigan.

Information and registration details for both events are online at watercenter.unl.edu. Registering for either day is $225. A discounted rate of $340 applies if registering for both days. Student registrations are free. Direct any questions to Tricia Liedle at 402-472-3305 or pliedle@nebraska.edu.

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Chittaranjan Ray, Ph.D., P.E., director, Nebraska Water Center, part of the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute, (402) 472-3305

Anthony B. Schutz, associate professor of law, NU College of Law, (402) 472-1248  Writer:

Steven W. Ress, communications coordinator, Nebraska Water Center, part of the

Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute, (402) 472-9549, sress@nebraska.edu