Rod DeBuhr with the Upper Big Blue NRD spoke at a few meetings recently. He shared there’s a lot of rumors floating around, but if you have questions, please just ask the NRD. There will be no well drilling moratorium and no restriction on adding new acres in the District. The only exception to this is if the allocation trigger is reached, there will be no new transfers. The UBBNRD encompasses 1.2 million irrigated acres and 57% of the water is used on only 29% of the acres; thus there’s still some inefficiencies within some producers’ operations. These are producers using, on average, more than 8” since 2007. The average water use since 2007 is just under 8” for the District.
Flow meters are required on all wells by January 1, 2016 or by when an allocation is triggered-whichever comes first. The first allocation period is 30” of water for 3 years. They will then evaluate where the water levels are. If recovery doesn’t happen after the three years, then there will be a second allocation of 45” for 5 years.
For flow meter specifications: all new meters must record in acre-inches. They must also have an anti-reverse feature on them. They must be installed based on the manufacturer recommendations-no exceptions. Existing meters are grandfathered if they are determined to be accurate. There is no cost share on new meters, but there is some cost share for repairing old meters. Please contact the UBBNRD at (402) 362-6601 for questions or more information.
Daryl Andersen with the Little Blue NRD also shared some information with me. These rules are effective as of January 17, 2014, which were put in place in 2006 or sooner. For well constructions and flow meter requirements as of Mar. 2006, new or replacement water wells to be used for domestic, stock, or other such purposes shall be constructed to such a depth that they are less likely to be affected by seasonal water level declines caused by other water wells in the same area.
Any new irrigation well or water wells for all other uses except municipal, domestic, public water supply, or livestock are required to have a minimum of 10 times the pipe diameter of clear space in the discharge pipe to allow for potential installation of a flow meter at a future date. There are some exceptions if a new meter is installed during the time of well completion; please contact the LBNRD at (402) 364-2145 for further info. Spacing between all new irrigation wells should be set at 1000 feet.
Nitrogen fertilizer restrictions include: Pre-plant anhydrous ammonia may not be applied prior to November 1. Pre-plant nitrogen fertilizers in liquid or dry forms may not be applied prior to March 1 except under the following conditions: a “Fertilizer Permit” will be required by the LBNRD prior to fertilizer applications, a nitrogen inhibitor will be required if applying over 20 lbs of active nitrogen/acre and an annual report will be required by March 15 of each year if receiving the “Fertilizer Permit.”
For the Clay/Nuckolls Water Quality Sub-Area: Two new rules were enacted March 1st, 2013 along with all of the prior rules. First, water samples need to be collected from all high capacity wells by the producer, delivered to LBNRD and NRD will analyze it for nitrates for 2013 and 2014 growing season. Second, water pumpage report is required from all wells for all producers in 2013 and 2014. Report can be hour meters, flow meters or other devices. Please contact the LBNRD for additional questions.