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This was the current level of Enders Lake at No-Name Bay on Tuesday. Water stored in Enders by a pair of irrigation districts has been sold to the Middle Republican Natural Resources District. As a result, the level of the lake will drop an additional 2.63 feet in the coming weeks. (Johnson Publications photo)

Up to 2,000 acre feet of water set for release from Enders Lake

Water purchased by MRNRD for compact compliance purposes

    Three years ago, the Middle Republican Natural Resources District (MRNRD) purchased and released 4,000 acre feet (AF) of water stored in Enders Reservoir for compact compliance purposes.
    The water was purchased from the the Hitchcock & Red Willow (H&RW) and Frenchman Valley Irrigation Districts (FVID), which owned the rights to the water.
    In early April, up to 2,000 acre feet of water stored in Enders will be released down the Frenchman
    Bill Peck, with the Bureau of Reclamation office in McCook, said a release of up to 2,000 AF has been ordered by the irrigation districts.
    The MRNRD purchased the water from the irrigation districts again this year. This water will be used by the MRNRD to aid in their effort to remain in compact compliance with Kansas.
    MRNRD is also a member of the Nebraska Cooperative Republican Platte Enhancement Project (N-CORPE) which operates a streamflow augmentation project on land owned in Lincoln County.
    The purchase of FVID H&RW water stored in Enders, along with pumping from the N-CORPE project and other credits, will provide the necessary compact compliance credits for the MRNRD.
    According to the Department of Natural Resources,  the MRNRD will need to offset a total of 6,100 acre feet by June 1 to be in compliance with the Kansas agreement.
2,000 AF not available now
    Peck said the release will be up to 2,000 AF. However, as of this week, there is only about 1,744 AF available for release.
    The elevation of the lake Tuesday stood at 3,085.03 feet above sea level. Peck said the lowest level they can go is 3,082.4 feet, which they refer to as the inactive pool. Dead pool on the reservoir is 3,080 feet.
    Don Felker, manager of the FV and H&RW irrigation districts, said the 20-year average for water availability in Enders is about 7,000 AF, compared to the 1,744 AF available now.
    The districts have not released any water from Enders for irrigation purposes since 2003.

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