N.Platte irrigation districts take out water loans

Alcova Dam and Reservoir

Irrigation Districts will be able to extend the irrigation season a little bit longer. The Bureau of Reclamation has approved water loans to four area irrigation districts through the Kendrick Project.
In a interview with KNEB/Rural Radio Network, Deputy Area Manager Lyle Myler says with strong inflows into 2011 water was available.

The Bureau of Reclamation will loan a total of 63,700 acre foot of water under a temporary one year contact. Pathfinder, Gering-Ft. Laramie and Farmers Irrigation District each loaned 20 thousand acre foot and Gering Irrigation District loaned 3,700 acre foot of water. Myler says contractors will have to follow the stipulation of the loan.

Districts will also $3.50 per acre foot to recover operation and maintenance costs for the Kendrick Project and for a power interference fee for reducing reservoir levels that could effect power generation. The project is closely coordinated by the Wyoming State Engineers Office, Nebraska Department of Natural Resources and the Casper-Alcova irrigation District, the district that receives the water from the Kendrick Project. The last time water loans were needed was in the severe drought year of 2002.

The forecasted inflows from April through July above Seminole Reservoir will total approximately 325 thousand acre foot. That's well short of the 30 year average of 750 thousand acre feet. After two consecutive low inflow years, Myler says water users are hoping for near normal conditions in 2014, otherwise next year will be even tougher.

Initially the Bureau of Reclamation had interest in water loans from six irrigation districts.

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