April 18, 2014

NRD in northeastern Nebraska cancels new irrigation due to drought

The lingering drought is already impacting next year’s crop season.

The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District Board has voted to rescind an earlier decision to allow a sign-up period to add 7,500 new irrigation acres in the district next year.

NRD water resources manager Rick Wozniak says, “We will not have a sign-up for the 2013 season,” though the board had planned to launch the sign-ups on August 1st.

Wozniak says they’ve received more than 100 complaints this week alone from both domestic and irrigation well owners over low or dried up wells because of increased irrigation use during the drought.

The board did vote to assist eligible rural domestic well owners through a cost-share program.

It all comes down to Mother Nature and how the lingering drought and increased irrigation is causing low or dried up irrigation and domestic wells.

At Thursday night’s hearing, one unidentified woman railed on those who she says are taking more than their fare share of the water.

“Our well is going dry,” she says. “We have owned it for 26 years and have never had trouble until these irrigation wells come in. These people, the farmers have to realize that there’s a lot of people out there that don’t have water.”

The board did take action to assist rural domestic well owners who can no longer use their wells or the wells need modifications.

By Jim Curry, WJAG, Norfolk