Water Sustainability Bill Passes Final Round

LINCOLN  (AP) - Nebraska lawmakers have passed a bill designed to help the state prepare for floods, water shortages and water quality problems.   Lawmakers gave final approval Thursday to legislation that would help local governments and the state pay for water projects, with an $11 million annual appropriation.  Budget bills that were approved this year are expected to generate $32 million for the new water sustainability fund 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 groundwater and surface water irrigators, cities, public power districts and wildlife conservation groups.