Compact compliance now being measured over a five-year period

By Russ Pankonin

Johnson Publications

For the first time since the drought years of 2012-13, compact compliance in the Republican River Basin for 2017 was measured on a five-year average.

From 2013 to 2016, low water supplies in Harlan County Dam near Alma required Nebraska to use two-year pumping averages to determine compliance with Kansas. 

That changed in 2017 when water supplies increased. It’s likely the five-year average will continue into 2018, according to Jasper Fanning, manager of the Upper Republican Natural Resources District in Imperial.

Several factors played into lifting the two-year averaging. More moisture on the eastern end of the district, coupled with augmentation pumping reaching Harlan County Dam, brought water levels in Harlan up. 

The biggest factor in the equation came when Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado reached an historic agreement last fall to better manage basin water between all three states. 

Fanning said Harlan County Dam held 110,000 acre feet (AF) of water in early May. 

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