The Lower Platte River Basin Consortium unveiled a detailed drought contingency plan last week that is a step toward ensuring that the Lincoln and Omaha areas have enough water to serve their growing population decades from now.
This is the first time that state managers have collaborated with utility providers to plan for the future. Natural resource districts, the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, the Lincoln Water System and the Metropolitan Utilities District of Omaha are all part of this group.
They’re all concerned about the impact of climate change on Nebraska. Analysis by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has projected that by the middle of this decade, temperatures experienced during the 2012 drought and heat wave will have become typical summertime highs.
The consortium has identified eight potential sources of extra water and its message is that meeting our water needs won’t be cheap. The report has estimated how much it would cost to take advantage of each water source, with costs ranging from $6 million to almost $250 million.