(HOLDREGE, Neb.) – The Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District’s board of directors voted Monday to approve an amendment to a water service agreement with the Platte River Recovery and Implementation Program that will allow additional recharge water to be diverted into Elwood Reservoir this fall.
Civil Engineer Cory Steinke said he expects excess flow water to be available after the downstream target flows in the Platte River are lowered on Nov. 15. Steinke expects the water will be available for recharge purposes before the end of the year.
General Manager Don Kraus informed the board that a similar water service agreement with Tri-Basin Natural Resource District did not need to be amended because, instead of diverting excess water into Elwood Reservoir, Tri-Basin intends to divert any excess flows available into one of the new wetland areas that have new access points from Central this year.
Also at Monday’s board meeting:
• The board approved a replatting of the boundaries of two lots in the K-1 cabin area at Lake McConaughy to allow for installation of a septic tank.
• The board approved a contribution of $2,249 in Lake Improvement Funds for the Cozad Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department to purchase ice rescue equipment.
• The board approved a one-year lease renewal contract on the Hilltop Restaurant property near Lake McConaughy.
• Steinke announced that the water level at Lake McConaughy has declined recently due to water releases from the Environmental Account at the reservoir. The lake is currently at elevation 3253.1 feet above sea level or 1.4 million acre feet (80.5 percent of capacity). Inflows at Lewellen are approximately 1,300 cubic feet per second, which Steinke said is a good flow for this time of year, despite being slightly below average. He added that the water releases from the Environmental Account will taper off mid-month, and he expects the total release from the lake for fall whooping crane migration to be approximately 36,000 acre-feet of water.
• Irrigation Division Manager Dave Ford gave a presentation on numerous maintenance and upgrade projects that the irrigation crews have been working on the past few weeks. The crews have been installing pipelines and intake structures, pouring concrete in certain areas and installing new gate structures.