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Middle Republican NRD will consider options

Monday, December 7, 2009

CURTIS -- Board members of the Middle Republican Natural Resources District will consider and possibly vote on one of the three options the state has presented to NRDs for water-short years, at their regular meeting Tuesday, 1:45 p.m., at the Curtis Community Center.

Dan Smith, MRNRD general manager, could not say for sure if board members would decide to vote on one of the options on Tuesday.

The state has given Republican River Basin NRDs three options to use in years designated as water-short, to make sure Nebraska stays in compliance with the Republican River Compact in drought years. The compact allocates usage of the river to Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado.

Each NRD can choose its own option. The options are:

Option 1: Set pumping allocation the same for everyone in an NRD. The allocations would be: Upper NRD, 3.6 inches, Middle NRD, 4.8 inches and Lower NRD, 5.9 inches

Option 2: shut off wells close to the stream in water-short years, in areas defined by Nebraska Department of Natural Resources as the 10 percent/five-year rapid response area. The number of acres shut off would be 44,500 in the Upper, 59,100 in the Middle and 76,900 acres in the Lower. Total acres losing water under option 2 would be 190,100.

Option 3: Shut off wells in areas defined by DNR as the 10-percent/two-year rapid response area. This would affect fewer acres but require a one percent annual reduction in water use from all remaining users. Acres lost would be 22,700 in the Upper, 44,500 in the Middle and 45,800 in the Lower.

Total acres losing water under option 2 would be 110,000.

The Upper NRD voted at its Dec. 1 meeting to use option 3.

Also at Tuesday's meeting, board members will discuss acreage reduction programs for next year and the annual water supply forecast from the DNR.

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