Farmers in several sections of Nebraska are already facing the prospect of limits on irrigation water in 2014. In the northeastern part of the state, the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (NRD) board of directors voted to not allow new irrigated acres, supplemental irrigation wells or transfers next year. There’s one caveat: It will grant up to 10 acres per project for those who want to complete a full circle for a pivot, up to 400 acres total. Lower Elkhorn staff will consider future changes and make proposals by March 1 for issues such as mandatory flow meters on irrigation wells.
In southeast Nebraska, groundwater levels in the Upper Big Blue NRD might be low enough by spring 2014 to activate allocation rules. The region, which includes about 12,000 irrigation wells, is proposing a limit of 45" of water spread over five years.