The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) Board of Directors recently tabled a decision on possible changes to their Groundwater Management Plan. One of the proposed changes would require the installation of flow meters on all irrigation wells across the district. Discussion of district-wide flow meters will be on the agenda at the Nov. 24th board meeting.
LENRD general manager, Mike Sousek, said, “The first priority for the meter program is sustainability; our main focus is water quantity. This is a proactive approach from the LENRD to have the equipment in place to manage groundwater during times of drought.”
Sousek continued, "Water meters are the only true way to measure pumping activities. They will help protect current water users and allow for the development of new water users. The meters provide a fair and equitable measurement that will allow the LENRD to manage groundwater and provide policies that concentrate on sharing our most precious resource among all users.”
Data collection from the meters will provide the district the information needed when working with the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources when they determine whether or not our district is fully appropriated.
Sousek added, “Should allocations ever be needed, all stakeholders will be treated fair and equitable through the use of the meter program.”
He continued, “The board and staff are on the same page and recognize the common goal driving the changes before us: the sustainability of the water resource. The debate now centers around which comes first, the meter or the plan. In the end both are going to be needed, but the plan will never be complete as it is a living document that will continue to evolve over time as the local conditions change. The meter will remain a constant; acting as a data collection and management tool.”
The Board of Directors will be discussing whether or not to require flow meters district-wide at the next public meeting on Tuesday, November 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the Lifelong Learning Center on the campus of Northeast Community College in Norfolk.