Gov. Ricketts Tours Possible Sites of Perkins County Canal & Reservoir System along the South Platte River
From Left to Right: DNR Director Tom Riley, Governor Pete Ricketts, Attorney General Doug Peterson, and Speaker Mike Hilgers survey the Sutherland Supply Canal

(KFOR NEWS  September 9, 2022)   On Tuesday, Governor Pete Ricketts toured portions of the South Platte River Basin with state officials.  The visit offered a firsthand look at drought conditions and included a windshield survey of possible routes and reservoir locations for the Perkins County Canal, the project designed to protect and preserve South Platte River water coming into Nebraska from Colorado.

The Governor was accompanied by Attorney General Doug Peterson; Speaker of the Legislature Mike Hilgers; and Tom Riley, the Director of the Department of Natural Resources.

Much of the state is in drought,” said Governor Ricketts.  “This visit reinforced the need for us to protect every drop of South Platte River water we can.  The Perkins County Canal is essential for this purpose.

Preliminary work on the canal project is progressing.

At this time, we are following the path laid out by the Legislature as we work toward realizing the vision of a fully functional canal and reservoir system within the next few years,” explained Director Riley.  “This includes a study of the project, as well as preliminary design and building plans.  In the meantime, we are actively pursuing option agreements for properties along the general canal corridor.  And, of course, we are continuing to dialog regularly with our counterparts in Colorado.

An independent report on the canal’s costs, benefits, and water supply is expected in December.

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