NCORPE Resumes Pumping for Compact Compliance

NCORPE Resumes Pumping for Compact Compliance

NCORPE Resumes Pumping for 2015-16 Obligations


Dickens, NE – The Nebraska Cooperative Republican Platte Enhancement Project (NCORPE) began operating recently to help the State of Nebraska maintain compliance with the Republican River Compact. A pending agreement with Kansas and an accounting change approved earlier this year by the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to reduce the amount of water that has to be generated from NCORPE by approximately 60%.

Under the new operations agreement that is expected to be finalized, augmentation pumping will occur during two time periods: The fall up until June 1; and September through mid-April of the following spring. The volume pumped until June 1 will be the lesser of the amount needed to ensure Kansas Bostwick Irrigation District has 40,000 acre feet of deliverable water in Harlan County Lake and the volume forecasted by the State to maintain Republican River Compact compliance. The lesser of the two in most cases is expected to be the amount needed for the Kansas irrigation district to have 40,000 acre feet available.

Once the pumping target is reached by June 1, no pumping would have to occur during the summer months. The reprieve will allow the State to assess water supplies, stream depletion caused by groundwater pumping and other factors to determine how much additional water, if any, needs to be generated. NCORPE and other NRD projects will then have until the following April to provide that amount of water. The main benefit of this approach is to prevent NCORPE from pumping more water than what is needed to maintain Compact compliance. The project can “pump to zero” instead of pumping based solely on early, conservative estimates. NCORPE and the State also get 100% credit for all augmentation water. In 2014, almost two acre feet of water had to be pumped to receive 1 acre foot of credit.

In addition to pumping less water, the pumping can be spread over a longer time period – beginning in the fall of the year preceding the year of the forecasted shortfall and ending in April of the subsequent year – and not occur during irrigation season when other landowners are operating their wells.

NCORPE has been closely monitoring water levels in and near the augmentation wellfield. Static water level variances between spring of 2013 before NCORPE began operating and this fall immediately before operations began were slightly less than variances seen in wells outside the project area during the same time period. The fact that NCORPE operations to date have had no more impact on water levels than impacts from irrigation pumping from other wells in the region was not surprising since the amount of water pumped from the project to date is roughly equivalent to the amount of water that would have been pumped from 2013-2015 on the project property had it remained an irrigated farm.

If you have questions please check out the NCORPE website at or call 308-534-6752.