North Platte Natural Resources District Makes Difference

North Platte Natural Resources District Makes Difference


The North Platte NRD has jurisdiction over groundwater transfers and cannot allow transfers, including municipal transfers, that cause third party impacts to proceed without offsets to mitigate those impacts. When an application for a municipal transfer permit is submitted, the NRD and the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (NDNR) use the Western Water Use Management Model (WWUMM) as the standard to determine third party impacts and corresponding offsets that might be required. Once impacts are determined, we communicate those to the applicant and set a course for mitigation. Once a mitigation plan is established and agreed to, we communicate that agreement to the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, and agree to the approval of the transfer permit.

The connection of the City of Minatare to the City of Scottsbluff's water system changed Minatare's point of withdrawal, and it was determined that this change could result in impacts to three surface water diverters: Winters Creek Canal Company, Central Irrigation District and Minatare Mutual Canal and Irrigation Company. By using the WWUMM, we determined that the potential worst case scenario mitigation required would be 117 acre feet per year during the irrigation season. This potentially could have cost the City of Minatare nearly $500,000.

Recognizing this enormous financial burden on this small, rural community, we at the NRD reviewed our model and existing credit from management actions in the District, we have agreed to provide credit in the reach between the new withdrawal point and the former withdrawal point to meet mitigation required to keep the 3rd party diverters whole, while the accretions from the former withdrawal point will keep the river whole downstream. This sensible approach will cost Minatare only a one-time fee of $200 per acre foot, or $23,400.

We are very proud of our work on this matter and want to ensure that we are able to announce it with all of you if you can make it.