Precipitation during the 2020 growing season (April 1-Sept. 30) so far is only slightly higher than the driest year on record, Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District Irrigation Operations Manager Dave Ford told the board of directors Tuesday.

Ford also noted that Including the most recent showers, only 10.14 inches of rain has been recorded at the Holdrege gauge this year. The driest growing season period, according to district records, was in 2012, with a total of 10.13 inches of precipitation.

Ford said all of the irrigation canal head gates have been closed for the season, and the draw-down of canals and pipelines has started.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting:

  • Civil Engineer Tyler Thulin reported that Lake McConaughy is at elevation 3,239.3 feet above sea level or just over 61% of capacity. Inflows to the lake are 1,300 cubic feet per second, while outflows are currently at 1,900 cubic feet per second and declining with the end of irrigation season.
  • A budget revision and work order for $8,732 were approved for the purchase of a new drone-rendering computer. Natural Resources and Compliance Manager Mike Drain reported that imagery recently taken with the drone at Kingsley Dam is part of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s request that Central conduct a self-inspection of its dams for 2020, due to travel restrictions for federal employees. The drone’s pictures cannot be sufficiently processed with the District’s current equipment.
  • Hydraulic Project Operations Manager Cory Steinke reported that Central’s first completely self-constructed steel and concrete bridge at Supply Canal milepost 27.2 near the Jeffrey river return structure is nearly finished. The board approved a progress payment to Husker Steel of Columbus for $221,096. Steinke reported that the only remaining construction on the bridge is the placement of guardrails on the approach to the bridge. Once the rails are delivered, the crew will install them and the bridge will re-open for public use.
  • The board approved two purchase requisitions with Ace Irrigation & Manufacturing, Co. for pipe underdrains and road crossings for $30,970 and for a pipe installation along the E65 main lateral for $28,602.