Tri-Basin NRD Launches Water Conservation Incentive Program

Tri-Basin Natural Resources District (TBNRD) is launching the Water Conservation Incentive Program (WCIP) designed to ensure sustainability of groundwater supplies in the district and protect streamflows from being diminished because of groundwater pumping. The goal of this voluntary program is to reduce groundwater pumping and increase irrigation water use efficiency in the district.

TBNRD will hold three informational meetings for district irrigators to learn more about WCIP: Friday, March 22 at 9:30 a.m. at the Minden Exchange Bank Meeting Room in Minden: Monday, March 25 at 9:30 a.m. at the Tri-Basin NRD Office in Holdrege; and Monday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. at the American Legion Hall in Elwood. Agricultural irrigators and landowners who want more information about WCIP are encouraged to attend one of these meetings.

Tri-Basin NRD will allow a total of up to 8,000 NRD-certified irrigated acres to enrolled in WCIP. The enrollment period will be from March 26 through April 19, 2019, or until the program acre enrollment limit is reached. Once the enrollment limit is reached, water savings to the district could reach 650 acre-feet per year.

Participants in the program will sign a five-year agreement with TBNRD to voluntarily limit irrigation water use (allocation) on the enrolled acres. In exchange for their participation, landowners will be paid for the equivalent of one acre-inch of water credit per acre per year, with the opportunity to sell additional credits to the NRD at a set price. In addition to NRD purchases, landowners will have the opportunity to sell water credits on the open market at any agreed-upon price (private transactions require TBNRD board approval). Tri-Basin NRD will maintain an "electronic bulletin board" to facilitate connections between buyers and sellers. Landowners will also be allowed to irrigate and acres within enrolled parcels and to share (pool) allocations. Pooling agreements will be required to enable sharing allocations between parcels under different ownership.

Landowners and irrigators can find out more specific information about Tri-Basin NRD's Water Conservation Incentive Program by attending one of the informational meetings or by visiting the district's website: www.tribasinnrd.org.