IMPERIAL, Nebraska -- The Upper Republican Natural Resource District board of directors has cut water allocations to five irrigation wells on 990.8 acres owned by Wilder Farms of Dundy County.
Earlier this year, according to the Imperial Republican newspaper, NRD staff members found devices on the five wells that allowed pumped water to bypass meters that measured the amount of irrigation water pumped onto the land.
Staff members also found inactive bypass devices on three Wilder Farms wells.
The Republican reports that the devices had been in use for at least 15 years, when Wilder Farms purchased the land from Jack Bond of Greeley, Colorado, a Chase County irrigator who has also used meter bypass mechanisms on his irrigated land. On land owned by Jack Bond, Randall Bond and Bruce Kramer of Wauneta, Nebraska, the NRD issued a "death penalty" and retired irrigation on 1,476.4 acres forever and on 779.4 acres for 10 years.
NRD board member Tom Terryberry said there was no evidence that Wilder Farms was aware of the bypasses.
Possible penalties ranged from reduced allocation of irrigation water and short-term or permanent retirement of acres.
An NRD weighted-average analysis at the end of the 2009 pumping season shows that the bypassed wells had more than 70 inches of available water and the non-bypassed wells had an allocated of 32.17 inches.
On the five bypassed wells, the NRD board approved a three-year allocation to total 32.17 inches in 2010, 2011 and 2012. The pumping on the bypassed wells in 2010 will be deducted from the remaining 32.17 inches of allocation.