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Transfers could aid NRD’s acreage retirement program PDF Print E-mail

By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican

Water transfers could be  used to supplement  an acreage retirement program being proposed by the Upper Republican Natural Resources District.
During their monthly meeting Tuesday, March 8 in Imperial, board members discussed using the incentive of transfers to complement their planned retirement program.
The program focuses on retiring acres in the Rapid Response Areas. This area is defined as acres near a river or stream that, when pumping occurs, creates a 10 percent reduction in streamflow over a 2-year period.
Manager Jasper Fanning  suggested that rather than paying $2,500 per acre to retire acres in the RRA, why not pay for other incentives, such as transfers.
One scenario would allow farmers with land in the RRA to transfer the allocation to a satellite pivot far outside the RRA.
He said it would allow the farmer to retire the land but still be able to move the allocation to land that will have significantly less streamflow depletion.
Board member Tom Terryberry said this method could allow the NRD to retire more acres in the RRA without as much cost, while still providing the farmer with options.
However, the creation of new irrigated acres would not be allowed.
Allowing the allocation to be moved could still produce water savings since the streamflow depletion factor decreases as the distance from the stream increases.
The groundwater committee suggested changes pooling rules that limit any new pool being formed to 39 inches of carryforward.
This would bring the carryforward allowed for either transfers or pooling to 39 inches.
During the meeting board members approved the borrowing of $5 million to complete the purchase of Dundy County ground for an augmentation project.
The board went into executive session for more than 90 minutes to discuss settlement options for rule violations where water bypassed metering devices.
Following the executive session, the board directed Fanning to work with the parties involved on further negotiations towards a settlement.