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Attorney David Domina Delivers Argument On Behalf of Hundreds of Farmers to the Supreme Court of Nebraska


Dave Domina appeared in the Supreme Court of Nebraska recently on behalf of hundreds of farmers and surface water irrigators in the Republican River Valley. The dispute is whether or not the State of Nebraska can take the farmers water by diverting for storage in holding ponds rather than allowing the farmers to irrigate their crops.

Dave Domina argues when the government takes a property right, water, it must pay farmers for the taking.

The State argues they need the water for the Nebraska-Kansas compact but instead of calculating the actual amount of water needed the State’s practice is to take water first and ask questions later. The problem is it is devastating the farmers since they plan each year based upon their right to a certain amount of water.

Domina argues the constitution comes first and when the government takes a property right they must pay the person injured. The case has far reaching impacts on the future of irrigation and therefore the value of farmland and the entire agricultural economy of Nebraska. During his testimony, Domina said that:

“The compact didn’t change our priority rights, the compact does empower the State to take and use water. We don’t quarrel with that. But, when the water is taken from a prior use – that has a superior right under the constitution, Article 15, section 6, requires compensation. We’re not here for an injunction to prevent the State from doing this again. We’re not here arguing the State acted unlawfully. We’re here asking for compensation.”

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