The measure approved Wednesday will provide about $11 million annually to help pay for projects related to water management and quality, flood control, and compliance with interstate compacts. It will generate an estimated $32 million by mid-2015.
The bill by Sen. Tom Carlson of Holdrege would also expand the Natural Resources Commission, from 16 members to 27, to ensure that more major water users are represented. The new commission would include irrigators, cities, public power districts and wildlife conservation groups.
Sen. Mark Christensen of Imperial says the law will help bring together surface and groundwater users, who are often at odds.