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Farmers Suing State of Nebraska File Written Arguments in Major Brief

Farmers suing the State of Nebraska for taking their 2013 irrigation water filed their written arguments in a major Brief today.

The farmers, located in the Republican River Basin contend the State caused water available for their use, and subject to their surface water priority use or rights, to be held back from them, though there was ample water available in the streams of the Basin for surface water irrigators to get the water they needed.

The case, Hill et al v State, Furnas County District Court No CI14-68, is a class action on behalf of surface water irrigators who uses waters from the Frenchman Cambridge Irrigation District. The south central Nebraska producers claim that water within Nebraska's allotment under the Republican River Compact, and actually in the stream and tributaries of the Republican River, and subject to capture for surface water irrigation under the law, was ordered withheld. The farmers suffered crop failures as a result.

Nebraska admits the water was not used for Compact compliance, but claims it had the right to withhold the water over the objections of farmers with priority water use rights. Dave Domina explained that the Nebraska farmers who filed the suit make a much more basic argument than the State recognizes. Domina says “Our clients do not dispute the States right to take the water just like it can take land for a highway, but the State must pay just compensation for what it takes.”

The case will be decided under principles of eminent domain and property owner rights under state and federal constitutions, and water law concerns.

The brief, filed by Domina Law Group pc llo may be read HERE.

The battle between surface water irrigators and the State of Nebraska will return to Court for a major hearing on July 2, 2015. The hearing, which will be held at the Courthouse in Lexington NE, will begin at 9:00 am.

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