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High water levels halt operations for summer businesses on the Elkhorn River

Posted at 5:59 PM, Jun 18, 2024

ELKHORN, Neb. (KMTV) — This year, the Elkhorn River has seen higher water levels then years past. It's caused access point closures and tubing businesses to cancel weekend operations but its all to keep people safe.

  • Video shows the Elkhorn River moving at high speeds.
  • Tubing and Adventures owner, Brock Beran shares why cancellations are a must when it comes to high water levels.
  • "After doing this for 16 summers, you know, I, I know it's part of the deal and, you know, I would rather lose out on the, on the revenue than, than put somebody in a, a situation that's not safe."


It's a Nebraska summer staple for many to go tubing down the Elkhorn River, but with water levels high, access points are closed, and tubing is postponed.

It can hurt businesses like Tubing and Adventures, the Waterloo company puts hundreds of people on the river each weekend.

But when water levels get high, owner Brock Beran says cancellations must be made.

"It is kind of a tough pill to swallow sometimes. You know, because that is a lot of revenue that you're losing out on."

That's why he takes it day by day, closely following the forecast.

"You try to make the correct decisions with the best information that you have, and you know, you don't always win those, those bets."

And while it's a betting business, he says it's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to people's safety.

Because high water levels can cause the river to flow faster, and recent flash flooding has carried limbs and other debris into the water.

"After doing this for 16 summers, you know, I know it's part of the deal and I would rather lose out on the revenue than put somebody in a situation that's not safe."

Tubing and Adventures only makes groups of any size deposit $25, so in case refunds must be made, the company doesn't lose out on thousands.

"I want everybody to be aware and if they aren't comfortable floating, they're welcome to reschedule for another day.”

Beran says he's already had to cancel floats down the river for one day this week as more rain is on the way and water levels will remain high. River access points are also still closed until the river gets below 5 feet.