The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) voted in November to amend the Groundwater Management Plan to require flow meters on all irrigation wells across the 15-county district. The Board is now preparing for the next public hearing that will take place on Thursday, January 14th at 6:30 p.m. to receive public testimony on modifications to the LENRD Rules and Regulations for Management of Groundwater that are necessary for implementation of this new requirement.
At their December board meeting, the board approved several additions to the flow meter list. The following meters are approved for installation across the district: McCrometer Propeller Flow Meters (All Models); McCrometer McMag 3000 Magmeter; Senninger Flo-Wise Ag Rotor Sensor System; Seametrics AG2000 Series Magmeter; and the Growsmart by Lindsay IM3000 Magnetic Flow Meter.
The board has not yet approved the deadline for when the meters need to be installed. They are considering a January 1, 2018 deadline. “The board will continue to work on the details of the rules and regulations and make further decisions after the public hearing in January,” said LENRD General Manager, Mike Sousek.
The board also discussed groundwater allocations for the Quantity Subareas for 2016. It was decided to keep the same allocations that were in place for 2015.
Whether or not to allow new irrigated acres was also on the agenda. The board voted to allow no new irrigated acres under the standard variance process. However, under the Expedited Variance Process, they did approve 250 acres in the hydrologically connected area and 250 acres in the areas where the groundwater is NOT hydrologically connected. This would allow approval of applications of 10 acres or less if the addition of the requested acres will allow the applicant’s center pivot to finish its circle, or for qualified applications under the good cause variance process. Both of these situations are considered under the expedited variance process and the application period for this specific process is now open for 2016.
In other action, the Quantity Subarea education requirements were examined and the board voted to require producers to attend 4 hours of instruction over a four year period, with renewal every four years. “This is a shift away from the annual education requirement and should provide greater flexibility for everyone involved,” said LENRD Water Resources Manager, Brian Bruckner.