|Hearing for new transfer rule in NRD set for May 5|
By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
Irrigators in the Upper Republican Natural Resources District (URNRD) will get to voice their opinions on a new transfer rule May 5.
The NRD will hold a hearing on the transfer rule during their regular meeting Tuesday, May 5. The meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Imperial office.
The new rule will be an amendment to the current Rule No. 11.
Under the amendment, the transfer of acres or groundwater allocation in the district can only be made within a township or floating township.
A township is a six-square mile area as defined by legal description.
A floating township gives the irrigator the flexibility of making a transfer from within a six-mile distance to the ground receiving the transfer.
The full allocation from the transferred ground goes on the receiving property.
Board members limited the amount of carryforward that can be transferred to 39 inches. This equals three years of allocation, which is 13 inches per year.
Similar transfer requested
The URNRD board postponed a transfer request at their monthly meeting April 7 that was similar to the new transfer rule.
The board was ready to approve the request since it was within the requirements of the proposed rule.
However, the issue was postponed while the landowner researched other options.
The landowner, Robert Ellis of Benkelman, expressed reservations about the 39-inch carryforward, noting he’d been conscious to conserve water.
The land being transferred has significant carryforward as well. But under the proposed rule, the carryforward will be limited to 39 inches.
Board members indicated if Ellis wants to keep the carryforward, he could put the allocation into his own pool rather than transferring the allocation.
However, Manager Jasper Fanning cautioned him, noting the only way to have true ownership of the allocation is through a transfer.
Fanning said if the land with the allocation is sold, that could result in Ellis losing the allocation in his pool.
Plus, without a transfer, the land with the allocation could also be subject to an occupation tax, if deemed constitutional.
Board member Jeff Wallin went on record to say he was strongly opposed to the new transfer rule.
He said the proposed rule, limiting the carryforward to 39 inches, penalizes irrigators who have managed their water use to build up the carryforward.