UENRD Issues Order to Update Groundwater Management Plan Rules and Regulations

 

NOTICE
On December 18, 2017, the Upper Elkhorn Natural Resources District (“UENRD”) Board of Directors adopted Rule 27 concerning the regulation of groundwater within the UENRD. The text of Rule 27 does the following: (1) Establishes baseline static water level triggers within each UENRD sub-district; (2) Provides flowmeter requirements for each static water level trigger threshold; (3) Sets forth flowmeter installation and reading procedures; (4) Establishes allocation systems for certain static water level trigger thresholds; and (5) Enacts penalties for failure to comply with allocation requirements.
By ORDER of the UENRD Board of Directors (published below), Rule 27 shall become effective on February 1, 2018.
A full text of Rule 27 is available to the public at the UENRD offices located at 301 N. Harrison St., O’Neill, NE 68763, or at the UENRD website: http://uenrd.org/.
ORDER
Upper Elkhorn Natural Resources District
Rule 27-Static Water Level Triggers
December 18, 2017
FINDINGS OF FACT
1. Nebraska Revised Statutes § 46-701 et seq., provides the authority for the adoption of rules and regulations for the management of groundwater.
2. Notice of the December 18, 2017, Public Hearing on the proposed rules and regulations was published in accordance with state law in the following newspapers in general circulation in the Upper Elkhorn NRD (“UENRD”): (a) Holt County Independent, (b) Rock County Leader, (c) Neligh News, (d) Atkinson Graphic, (e) Elgin Review, (f) Orchard News, (g) Clearwater Record-Ewing News.
3. Notice of the Public Hearing and a full copy of the proposed rule and regulations were posted on the UENRD website at www.uenrd.org. Copies of the proposed rules and regulations were also made available from the UENRD office in O’Neill, Nebraska at the time of publication of the newspaper notices identified above.
4. The Public Hearing was held in accordance with state law and as noticed on December 18, 2017. All persons present at the Public Hearing were afforded an opportunity to provide oral or written testimony regarding the proposed rules and regulations.
5. The record of the Public Hearing was held open for the receipt of mailed, written testimony until the close of the Public Hearing. Copies of all written testimony, personally provided at the Public Hearing or mailed, were made available to the UENRD Board of Directors for their consideration.
6. Testimony presented at the Public Hearing, whether written or oral, is part of the Public Hearing record on file with the UENRD office in O’Neill, Nebraska.
7. The UENRD Board of Directors considered all testimony and, in open session, at its regular Board of Directors meeting on December 18, 2017, voted to approve the proposed rules and regulations.
BY VIRTURE OF THE AUTHORITY VESTED IN THE UPPER ELKHORN NATURAL RESOURCES DISTRICT BOARD OF DIRECTORS BY NEBRASKA STATE LAW, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:
1. The Rule 27 adopted by the UENRD Board of Directors on December 18, 2017, are adopted and shall become effective February 1, 2018.
Signed by UENRD Chairman-Thomas E. Kelly and General Manager-Dennis Schueth

NOTICE On December 18, 2017, the Upper Elkhorn Natural Resources District (“UENRD”) Board of Directors adopted Rule 27 concerning the regulation of groundwater within the UENRD. The text of Rule 27 does the following: (1) Establishes baseline static water level triggers within each UENRD sub-district; (2) Provides flowmeter requirements for each static water level trigger threshold; (3) Sets forth flowmeter installation and reading procedures; (4) Establishes allocation systems for certain static water level trigger thresholds; and (5) Enacts penalties for failure to comply with allocation requirements.By ORDER of the UENRD Board of Directors (published below), Rule 27 shall become effective on February 1, 2018.A full text of Rule 27 is available to the public at the UENRD offices located at 301 N. Harrison St., O’Neill, NE 68763, or at the UENRD website: http://uenrd.org/.ORDERUpper Elkhorn Natural Resources DistrictRule 27-Static Water Level TriggersDecember 18, 2017FINDINGS OF FACT1. Nebraska Revised Statutes § 46-701 et seq., provides the authority for the adoption of rules and regulations for the management of groundwater.2. Notice of the December 18, 2017, Public Hearing on the proposed rules and regulations was published in accordance with state law in the following newspapers in general circulation in the Upper Elkhorn NRD (“UENRD”): (a) Holt County Independent, (b) Rock County Leader, (c) Neligh News, (d) Atkinson Graphic, (e) Elgin Review, (f) Orchard News, (g) Clearwater Record-Ewing News.3. Notice of the Public Hearing and a full copy of the proposed rule and regulations were posted on the UENRD website at www.uenrd.org. Copies of the proposed rules and regulations were also made available from the UENRD office in O’Neill, Nebraska at the time of publication of the newspaper notices identified above.4. The Public Hearing was held in accordance with state law and as noticed on December 18, 2017. All persons present at the Public Hearing were afforded an opportunity to provide oral or written testimony regarding the proposed rules and regulations.5. The record of the Public Hearing was held open for the receipt of mailed, written testimony until the close of the Public Hearing. Copies of all written testimony, personally provided at the Public Hearing or mailed, were made available to the UENRD Board of Directors for their consideration.6. Testimony presented at the Public Hearing, whether written or oral, is part of the Public Hearing record on file with the UENRD office in O’Neill, Nebraska.7. The UENRD Board of Directors considered all testimony and, in open session, at its regular Board of Directors meeting on December 18, 2017, voted to approve the proposed rules and regulations.BY VIRTURE OF THE AUTHORITY VESTED IN THE UPPER ELKHORN NATURAL RESOURCES DISTRICT BOARD OF DIRECTORS BY NEBRASKA STATE LAW, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:1. The Rule 27 adopted by the UENRD Board of Directors on December 18, 2017, are adopted and shall become effective February 1, 2018.Signed by UENRD Chairman-Thomas E. Kelly and General Manager-Dennis Schueth

 

 

UPPER ELKHORN NATURAL RESOURCES DISTRICT MANAGEMENT AREA RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT AREAS

(Rule 27-Static water level triggers)

The Upper Elkhorn NRD (“UENRD”) has developed sub-districts throughout the UENRD management area to manage groundwater. As part of such management, UENRD has determined a baseline static water level within each of the sub-districts, which will be the lowest static water level reading prior to 2014.

Triggering Mechanisms:

1. When spring static water levels within a sub-district are determined to be between 24 inches and 12 inches above the lowest spring reading, the following shall occur:

a) The UENRD will conduct an informational and educational campaign for landowners that own and operate irrigation distribution systems that are supplied by individual or commingled high capacity wells yielding more than 50 GPM. Landowners will be informed within that sub-district that this level has been reached and upon subsequent spring static water level readings, additional regulations may be warranted the following year.

b) Historical certified irrigated acres that were not being irrigated by ground water prior to this trigger will not be allowed to be developed for irrigation as long as these criteria are met.

2. When spring static water levels in a sub-district are determined to be within 12 inches above the lowest spring static reading, the following shall occur:

a) Flowmeters will be required on 10% of the landowner’s irrigation distribution systems within that sub-district that are supplied by individual or commingled high capacity wells yielding more than 50 GPM.

b) Installation of flowmeters must be installed to manufacturer’s specifications. A legal description must be submitted to UENRD and flowmeters must be installed by December 31st of the current year of meeting the above static water level.

c) If the ground water irrigation distribution system owner owns less than ten ground water irrigation distribution systems, they will be required to install one flowmeter if the above criteria is met.

d) If the ground water irrigation distribution system owner already has 10% of their ground water irrigation distribution systems equipped with flowmeters within this sub-district, this requirement will be satisfied.

e) Flowmeter readings will need to be submitted to UENRD by December 31st each year on forms developed by UENRD and may be spot-checked for compliance.

f) Any ground water irrigation distribution system that is currently equipped or is to be equipped with a flowmeter must certify their irrigated acres if they have not already been certified.

g) Historical ground water certified irrigated acres that were not being irrigated prior to this trigger will not be allowed to be developed for irrigation as long as the above criteria is met.

3. When spring static water levels in a sub-district remain and are determined to be within 12 inches above the lowest spring static reading in subsequent or non-subsequent years, the following shall occur:

a) Flowmeters will be required on an additional 10% of the landowner’s irrigation distribution systems within that sub-district that are supplied by individual or commingled high capacity wells yielding more than 50 GPM.

b) Installation of flowmeters must be installed to manufacturer’s specifications. A legal description must be submitted to UENRD and flowmeters must be installed by December 31st of the current year of meeting the above static water level.

b) If the ground water irrigation distribution system owner owns less than ten ground water irrigation distribution systems, they will be required to install an additional flowmeter within this sub-district.

c) Flowmeter readings will need to be submitted to UENRD by December 31st each year on forms developed by UENRD and may be spot-checked for compliance.

d) Historical ground water certified irrigated acres that were not being irrigated prior to this trigger will not be allowed to be developed for irrigation as long as the above criteria is met.

4. When spring static water levels in a sub-district are determined to be twelve inches above the lowest reading, the flowmeter installation requirement will discontinue until the spring static water levels are determined to be within twelve inches above the lowest static water level reading.

5. When spring static water levels in a sub-district are determined to be within 12 inches below the lowest spring static water level reading, the following shall occur:

a) Flowmeters will be required on 60% of the landowner’s irrigation distribution systems within that sub-district that are supplied by individual or commingled high capacity wells yielding more than 50 GPM.

b) Installation of flowmeters must be installed to manufacturer’s specifications. A legal description must be submitted to UENRD and flowmeters must be installed by December 31st of the current year of meeting the above static water level.

c) Flowmeter readings will need to be submitted to UENRD by December 31st each year on forms developed by UENRD and maybe spot-checked for compliance.

d) Historical ground water certified irrigated acres that were not being irrigated prior to this trigger will not be allowed to be developed for irrigation as long as the above criteria is met.

6. When spring static water levels in a sub-district remain and are determined to be within 12 inches below the lowest spring static reading in subsequent or non-subsequent years, the following shall occur:

a) Flowmeters will be required on 100% of the landowner’s irrigation distribution systems within that sub-district that are supplied by individual or commingled high capacity wells yielding more than 50 GPM . No allocation will be implemented at this time.

b) Installation of flowmeters must be installed to manufacturer’s specifications. A legal description must be submitted to UENRD and flowmeters must be installed by December 31st of the current year of meeting the above static water level.

7. When the spring static water levels in a sub-district are determined to be below 12 inches of the lowest spring static water level reading, then an allocation system will be implemented within that sub-district and the following shall occur:

a) Flowmeters will be required on 100% of the landowner’s irrigation distribution systems within that sub-district that are supplied by individual or commingled high capacity wells yielding more than 50 GPM.

b) Installation of flowmeters must be installed to manufacturer’s specifications. A legal description must be submitted to UENRD and flowmeters must be installed by December 31st of the current year of meeting the above static water level.

c) Variances may be granted upon a demonstration of good cause.

d) Allocations will be allotted the following year of the spring reading reaching this static water level. Each ground water certified irrigation distribution system will be allocated for a period of 5 years and receive 75 acre inches.

e) Flowmeter readings will need to be submitted to UENRD by December 31st each year on forms developed by UENRD and may be spot-checked for compliance.

f) Historical ground water certified irrigated acres that were not being irrigated prior to this trigger will not be allowed to be developed for irrigation as long as the above criteria is met.

8. When spring static water levels in a sub-district are determined to be below 12 inches of the lowest spring static water level in one spring static water level measuring cycle, the following shall occur:

a) Flowmeters will be required on 100% of the landowner’s irrigation distribution systems within that sub-district that are supplied by individual or commingled high capacity wells yielding more than 50 GPM and an allocation will be enforced on all ground water irrigation distribution systems within the sub-district.

b) Allocations will be allotted the following year of the spring reading reaching this static water level.

c) Allocations will be maintained for a minimum of 5 years. Any time within this period the UENRD board of directors reserves the right to adjust the allocation amount based on static water levels, trend lines, and weather conditions.

d) Flowmeter readings will need to be submitted to UENRD by December 31st each year on forms developed by UENRD and may be spot-checked for compliance.

e) Historical ground water certified irrigated acres that were not being irrigated prior to this trigger will not be allowed to be developed for irrigation as long as the above criteria is met.

9. Upon static water levels reaching Subpart 8 above:

a) Expansion of ground water irrigated acres will not be allowed.

b) Each ground water certified irrigation distribution system will be allocated for a period of 5 years and receive 75 acre inches.

c) New helper wells will not be allowed once a sub-district has been determined to be triggered.

d) Transfers of historical or active ground water irrigated acres will not be allowed.

e) Inactive certified historical acres that are not currently irrigated upon a sub-district being triggered will not receive an allocation.

f) Historical certified irrigated acres that began irrigating within the five years prior to being triggered will only receive 15 acre inches multiplied by the number of years documented by Farm Service Agency or County Assessor records.

I. (For example, if documentation demonstrates land was irrigated 3 out of the previous 5 years, such land would receive only 45 acre inches for the 5 year allocation starting the year it was triggered.)

g) Situations where ground water historical irrigated acres are utilized to complete circle or add to a certified irrigation distribution system will be calculated as such.

I. (For example, if 5 acres were added to 127 acre pivot and 3 years’ worth of documentation are available, 5 acres x 45 inches = 225 acre inches. 127 acres have 75 acre inches, or 9,525 acre inches. So, add (225 acre in + 9,525 acre in) /132 acres = 73.86 acre inches for the 5 year allocation.)

h) Balance of allocations will be based on an annual allocation of 15 acre inches.

i) Once levels rise two feet above the lowest level, the UENRD Board will decide as to whether a sub-district can sustain more consumptive use and determine if ground water historical acres that are not being currently irrigated will be allowed to be irrigated.

j) Allocation Carry-Over:

I. Any unused allocation at the end of the 5 year time period would only be allowed to carry 5 acre inches into the next allocation. (Starting with a new 75 acre inch allocation + 5 acre inches of carry over = 80 acre inches for next 5 year time period.)

II. Landowners would have to notify on a form provided by UENRD the amount and location where a portion of an allocation is to be moved. This notification would have to occur by January 15th of each year.

III. Moving of allocation as stated above would only be allowed when:

a) Properties are within the same ownership;

b) Within sub-districts developed by UENRD; and

c) Are to a lower stream depletion factor within the same hydrologic unit code (“HUC”) within the same sub-district.

o Allocation would be allowed to move within 2 miles of adjacent HUC meeting above criteria.

k) Penalties:

I. At the end of the 5 year allocation, any amount of ground water used over the 75 acre inch allocation will be rounded to the next consecutive inch, multiplied by 5, and subtracted from the next new subsequent allocation.

II. If the district removes the sub-district from an allocation, those ground water irrigation distribution systems that was to be penalized by a reduction will remain with an allocation for another year. This 1 year allocation will be based on the annual 15 acre inch allocation minus the penalty.

 

Posted on: Tuesday, January 2, 2018
Last modified on: Tuesday, January 2, 2018

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