Lincoln County irrigation well
The Twin Platte Natural Resources District will hold two information sessions on the "water farm" project on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The farm 19,500 acres in southern Lincoln County. Its cropland will be converted to grass and water from the farm will be pumped to the Republican and Platte rivers.
The first session will be from 1:30–3:30 p.m. MT at the Lake McConaughy Visitor Center, 1475 Hwy 61, Ogallala.
The second session will be from 1:30–3:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Holiday Inn Express, 300 Holiday Frontage Rd, North Platte.
The public is invited to both meetings.
The Twin Platte Natural Resources District has partnered with three Natural Resources Districts along the Republican River basin in Nebraska to develop the water farm -- the largest stream flow enhancement project of its kind in the state.
Supporters say the landmark project is the most cost-effective way to aid and protect the Republican and Platte Rivers and ensure long-term compliance with interstate water agreements.
Supporters also say the "water farm" will protect the agricultural economy in west central Nebraska -- one of the most productive agricultural areas in the region.
The water from the farm will be enough for the Twin Platte NRD to fully meet its required efforts to return Platte River conditions to 1997 levels and meet the state of Nebraska's obligations under the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program, according to a statement from the Twin Platte NRD.
Along the Platte, NRDs are responsible for returning the basin to water supply-and-demand conditions that existed in 1997. That will ultimately reverse a state designation of "over-appropriated" groundwater to "fully-appropriated" under state law.
The water from the farm would also be enough to close most of the gap between supplies and demand in the Republican River, under a three-state compact that guarantees Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas a fair share of river water.
Nebraska has trouble meeting its compact obligations during exceptionally dry years, officials say.
The four NRDs partnering on the project are -- Upper Republican NRD based in Imperial; Middle Republican NRD based in Curtis; Lower Republican NRD based in Alm; and the Twin Platte NRD based in North Platte.
Like other NRDs across the state, the four NRDs are charged with managing groundwater use by balancing environmental, economic, and legal requirements for water, according to the Twin Platte NRD statement.