Rains help lower Big Mac releases, Irrigation allocations for 2013 still possible
By Lori Potter,
Holdrege - Could Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District officials go from spilling excess water from
The idea was raised at Monday's CNPPID's board meeting in Holdrege and reflects the speed and degree to which drought has overwhelmed
"We'll continue to look at this over the next month," said CNPPID Civil Engineer Cory Steinke, as planning continues on a proposed 2013 water operations plan.
He said the allocation scenario is possible. "We went from spilling water this past fall and spring to McConaughy now being at 61 percent (of full)," Steinke said.
Irrigation Division Manager Dave Ford said diversions totaled 147,000 acre-feet for all of 2011 and are now at 140,000 a-f with a month of the irrigation season to go.
Central officials had estimated that the 2012 total could reach 200,000 a-f. However, Ford and Steinke said rains last week along the
Steinke said he had been releasing 2,100 cubic feet per second from
He said that only 425 cfs is entering the lake via the
The lake now holds 1,071,000 a-f. Steinke said the lake had been dropping 2 feet per week, but it was somewhat less last week.
"We're releasing a ton of storage water from McConaughy ... There's no water coming in. It's all going out," he added.
Ford said irrigation diversions of 1,200 cfs were cut in half last week, and he doesn't expect them to climb back to 1,200 cfs this irrigation season.
So far, water delivered to the fields has averaged 7.75 inches per acre. "That's probably in line with what it ought to be with the conditions we've had," Ford said.
"The summer has not been kind to me," Steinke said, because changing weather conditions have produced swings of 600 to 700 cfs in the water needed from day to day.
The goal now is to get through the summer and save as much water in the lake as possible, he added.
CNPPID Director Robert Garrett of
Also Monday, the board approved two water service agreements to use the
One agreement is with the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program. The other is with the state Department of Natural Resources and Tri-Basin Natural Resources District.
Staff and directors also went in to closed session to review Central's 1954 water service agreement with Nebraska Public Power District.
An electrical services agreement with NPPD was approved, pending legal review. CNPPID Engineering Services Manager Eric Hixon said the agreement covers fall work planned at the Jeffrey, J-1 and J-2 hydropower plants to replace breakers at the ends of transmission lines.
He said NPPD will configure the relays to fit the grid and make final checks on Central's work.
The board was told by Kevin Breece, district conservationist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, that his office continues to write contracts with farmers for federal programs that help fund water conservation projects.
More than $2.4 million have been allocated this summer in Gosper, Phelps and
"We're gonna see a lot of pivots installed for next year," Breece said.
In other business, the board:
Approved 2012-2015 hunting regulations for
Were introduced to Holly Hiebert, the district's new public relations assistant. An
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