New forecasting methods are helping Nebraska officials anticipate when they are at risk of a water shortage in the Republican River basin.
Regulators with the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources say the techniques they've used have evolved since 2007, when a state law was passed to require closer scrutiny of river flows and water storage in reservoirs.
The computer models are crucial to helping Nebraska stay in compliance with the Republican River Compact, a legally binding water-sharing agreement with Colorado and Kansas.
Nebraska Department of Natural Resources deputy director Jim Schneider says that, without the model, state regulators would have to be overly conservative with water usage in years when water is more abundant.
The forecast is predicting that Nebraska will face a water shortage next year.