The water from wells below the NCORPE land will be restricted in the same way that farmers are restricted in how much water they can pump, following action Thursday by the board of directors of the Twin Platte Natural Resources District.
The NRD directors voted to limit NCORPE pumping to 12 inches/acre (1 acre-foot) per year for the next 10 years – an amount that is pretty much in line with the limit on an irrigated farm.
This limit will go into effect on Jan. 1, but can be reviewed and adjusted every two years.
The vote was 10-0, with two members absent – Judy Pederson and Eric Hanson, both of North Platte.
The Twin Platte NRD covers the northern part of the 16,000 NCORPE acres that were irrigated at one time.
On the south part, the Middle Republican NRD will limit the pumping too, Twin Platte NRD Manager Kent Miller told the Bulletin.
That adds up to a limit of 160,000 acre-feet from the NCORPE farm over the next 10 years.
Disgruntled members of the public said the limit should have been instituted when the water project started in 2013. Already, about 80,000 acre-feet has been pumped from the wells, Sen. Mike Groene noted. All of that water went into the Medicine Creek, where it headed downstream to the Republican River, under an agreement with Kansas.
Twin Platte NRD manager Kent Miller said organizers originally expected to pump water into the Platte River every year, and every 2-3 years to the Republican River, but said, “That has not been the case.”
The Platte River part of the augmentation project is just now ready to go. Miller said underground pipe to the Platte River is buried, connected and ready for operation.
Under the new limit, 25% of the allocation will be available for the Platte River, or 4,000 acre-feet per year.
The other 75% will be available for the Republican River, equating to 12,000 acre-feet per year.
The initials NCORPE stand for Nebraska Cooperative Republican Platte Enhancement. The project, by far the largest of its kind in Nebraska, was created specifically to fulfill agreements with other states about minimal amounts of water that flow in each of the two river systems. A total of 19,000 acres — 30 square miles — was purchased.