Proposal for new five-year allocation expected at January NRD meeting
Allocation of 12-13” annually expected
By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
The 2012 irrigation season marked the final year of the five-year allocation period set by the Upper Republican Natural Resources District.
During special and regular meetings this month, the new allocation for the next five-year period received plenty of attention from the board.
During their regular meeting Dec. 18, board members directed the groundwater committee to draft proposed changes for discussion at the January meeting.
In addition to setting allocations, board members are looking at ways to provide for reasonable use of carryforward.
Manager Jasper Fanning said Wednesday the board is leaning towards keeping the allocation at 13 inches.
The annual pumping target for the district stands at 11.4 inches. This year, the district will exceed that target and will be made up with augmentation pumping.
If pumping continues to exceed the target, Fanning said the new rules could allow the board to reduce the allocation further within the five-year period.
Fanning predicted the allocation would be no lower than 12 inches, if further reductions are needed.
The issue of carryforward has been discussed extensively, as well.
Fanning said the rules need to address carryforward to keep the district within its pumping target.
One idea under consideration would allow irrigators to use up to five inches of carryforward during the five-year allocation period.
Irrigators would have to manage how that carryforward is used during the allocation period.
If an irrigator used more than five inches of carryforward in the period, any additional use would be figured on a 2-to-1 basis. This would mean that for every inch of carryforward used above the five inches, carryforward would be reduced by two inches.
It’s a delicate balancing act, Fanning said, because the district is allowing irrigators to pump more than the 11.4-inch target already.
The groundwater committee proposal will be presented to the board in a meeting planned for Jan. 8 in Imperial, beginning at 1 p.m.
If the board approves a proposal in January, Fanning said a public hearing on the proposed rule changes will be held sometime in February.