The Twin Platte Natural Resources Districts, based in North Platte, is working with four local irrigation districts and the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources to divert high river flows into canals.
By diverting the high flows, the risk of flooding will be reduced and water will be able to seep into the groundwater, allowing the NRD to study the recharge of the Ogallala Aquifer and gain offset water that will move back into the Platte River, as required by the district's Integrated Management Plan.
"This project allows for an evaluation of the recharge rates by intercepting high flows out of the river during periods of high flows while protecting lives and property downstream and reducing the risk for flooding," says Kent Miller, general manager of the NRD. "This project also allows us to continue making progress on our integrated management plan which requires offset water in the river during times of shortages. This cooperative project allows us to utilize the district's water banking program," says Miller.
In general the IMP's goals include protecting and increasing flows in the Platte River by working with all water users which will increase water use efficiency and reduce consumptive use.
The Department of Natural Resources has been working with Platte River Basin NRS and irrigation districts in the portions of the basin that has been determined by the state to be fully or overapprorpriated. The four local irrigation districts involved in this project are Suburban, Keith-Lincoln, Platte Valley and Paxton-Hershey.
The Twin Platte NRD has been working with DNR to develop models and tools to evaluate and identify the best location suited for this type of recharge project.For more information, visit www.tpnrd.org.