Water conference to offer practical advice for users

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

We're stating the obvious, but water is our most important resource.

If we didn't learn that lesson during the drought of the mid-2000s, we are surely being convinced by the ongoing wrangling and legal battles between states and local governmental agencies.

The Upper Republican Natural Resources District has certainly raised the bar for finding solutions with its ambitious plan to take a vast tract of land out of production and using the water to supplement river flows when necessary.

How the other NRDs, not to mention the states of Nebraska, Kansas and other interests respond only time will tell.

But there are plenty of things individuals can do in the meantime.

That's why sponsors are inviting local irrigators, producers, farm managers, agronomists and bankers to the 25th annual Southwest Nebraska Water Conference Friday at the Red Willow County Fairgrounds Community Building.

Registration begins at 8:45 a.m., the first session is 9:15. Ag Valley Co-op is bringing coffee and doughnuts, and the Middle Republican NRD is providing lunch.

As water becomes more and more precious, irrigators and producers will have to be more and more intelligent in its use.

To help them do so, a variety of speakers from the U.S. Geological Survey, Bureau of Reclamation and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have been invited. University, Southwest Weed Management Area, National Drought Mitigation Center and MRNRD professionals will talk about climate trends, water balance studies and irrigation strategies in drought conditions to better balance the use of groundwater with our prevailing climate.

Founded in 1987 to help educate irrigators about water quality problems, the conference has evolved into a means of bringing residents up to date on the Kansas lawsuit, as well as educating producers on integrated management and offering practical information about efficient, effective use of water.

More information is available from the Middle Republican NRD at (800) 873-5613.

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