The entire country has come to appreciate the crisis that California unfortunately faces in managing its limited water supply in the face of prolonged drought.

Some California municipalities are now penalizing residential water use that crosses certain thresholds. And the state for the first time has set restrictions on groundwater pumping.

Although Nebraska's system of water management isn't perfect, it has helped Nebraska's portion of the Ogallala Aquifer avoid the drastic depletions seen in Texas and parts of Kansas. And as The World-Herald has reported, water experts from around the country are contacting Nebraska officials with growing frequency to learn about water policies here.

So it was this summer when the University of Nebraska's Daugherty Water for Food Institute coordinated a visit by five scholars from the University of California, Santa Barbara's Bren School of Environmental Science & Management.

The visitors met with an array of Nebraskans, including those with state agencies, NU, natural resources districts and conservation groups.

The Californians "learned how to work with various stakeholders to understand their viewpoints, needs and concerns regarding water use," Martin Merz, one of the California scholars, wrote in an essay for the Water for Food Institute.

"Following our trip," Merz wrote, "we have a deeper understanding of how water trusts operate and the dynamics between the different agencies." The interviews and visits to field sites, he wrote, "helped us identify common themes, opportunities and barriers."

It's encouraging to see lessons from Nebraska's water management passed on at a time when the information can make a positive difference in the lives of fellow Americans facing such a daunting challenge.

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