NRD Board to consider allowing irrigation development

Changes to the Lower Loup Natural Resources District’s Groundwater Management Area Rules and Regulations that could allow new irrigation development in the NRD will be considered at a public hearing to be held Thursday, June 25, at 4 p.m. in the exhibit hall at the Valley County Ag Complex on East Highway 11 in Ord.

With the passage of LB483 by the Nebraska Legislature in its last session, each NRD in the Lower Platte River Basin was granted the potential to develop up to 2,500 acres of groundwater irrigation for the next four years. At its May meeting, the Lower Loup NRD Board of Directors requested that district staff draft modifications and additions to the District Groundwater Management Area Rules and Regulations to allow such irrigation development.

NRD General Manager Leon “Butch” Koehlmoos said the proposed changes to the groundwater rules would create a sign-up period and ranking system to prioritize where new groundwater irrigation could take place. He said the ranking process would be based on many factors, including stream depletion factors, the status of groundwater and surface water, irrigation concentration, the soil classification, type of irrigation system proposed and others.