IMPERIAL, Nebraska -- The Upper Republican Natural Resources District, based in Imperial, Nebraska, will issue cease-and-desist orders to at least three landowners for violations of water meter rules and regulations.
The Imperial Republican newspaper reported that an investigation by the URNRD staff has revealed that about 25 center pivots have been equipped with pipe and metering designs that allow irrigation water to partially bypass meters. The meters are required by the NRD to accurately measure the amount of groundwater pumped in the district.
Alleged violations were the topic of a special URNRD meeting June 3.
Following that meeting and a two-hour closed session, Jasper Fanning, director of the URNRD, declined to release names of the landowners until each has been served with notices sent by certified mail.
Fanning told Imperial Republican publisher Russ Pankonin that some of the violations, such as improper meter spacing or calibration, are less serious than bypassing water meters.
Fanning said the district's rules and regulations, along with state statute, empower the URNRD board of directors to strip water allocations from a property, in part or in whole, and/or de-certify irrigated acres, in part or in whole.
Fanning told the Republican that the investigation continues, while other means, such as electrical usage, may be used to determine how much water was actually pumped at the wells involved.
Fanning said that landowners involved have been working with the NRD to bring their wells into compliance. The minutes of the special meeting indicate that landowners have the opportunity to agree to remedies or request a formal adjudicatory hearing. Landowners will have 10 days to comply or provide the NRD with their plan(s) to come into compliance.
Despite their cooperation, landowners may still face additional sanctions or penalties, the Republican reports.
Fanning told Pankonin that the cease-and-desist orders also apply to renters of affected properties.