As a citizen who is concerned about the water issues in Southwest Nebraska I am against the $83,000,000 Lincoln County Farms land purchase by the three Republican River NRDs in cooperation with the Twin Platte NRD.
As many of you know I was a part of the "friends of the river" that filed suit against LB701. This bill gave Republican River NRDs the authority to charge the occupation tax on irrigated acres. It is the occupation tax that makes this irresponsible purchase possible.
This project negatively impacts Hitchcock and Red Willow counties and the communities of Stratton, Palisade, Trenton, Culbertson, McCook, Indianola, Bartley and Cambridge.
Irrigators in the highly developed Upper Republican NRD have been overusing their groundwater allocation for many years.
This over-use has reduced Republican River stream flow and inflows to our area reservoirs. This over-use has been devastating to the irrigation districts in the Middle Republican NRD. The H&RW Irrigation District has not been able to deliver water since 2001.
The Meeker Canal delivered no water from 2003 to 2008, and now has an 8 inch/acre supply. All other surface water deliveries have been similarly interrupted and reduced.
Instead of correcting the over-use problem, this augmentation project will pull more water from the Ogallala aquifer and allow irrigation wells above the Enders, Swanson and Hugh Butler Reservoirs to pump a full allocation, further reducing stream flow.
These wells' uses will be offset by adding the pumped water to the Republican River east of Cambridge. The area that lies between the pumping and the augmentation to the river including our area reservoirs will no doubt be dry. Shouldn't all users of Republican River water be considered in NRDs decisions?
During the 2012 election, all eight candidates running for the five open seats on the MRNRD board of directors expressed their concern for future generations.
I say if you want to leave a legacy for your children and grandchildren, why not leave them some water?