Groundwater Farm Management

Groundwater Farm Management

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

As groundwater levels have been declining in recent years, the Little Blue Natural Resource District (LBNRD) is requiring water flow meters to be installed, with annual reporting of meter readings and number of acres irrigated to the LBNRD. In addition, on or before January 1, 2019, all ground water uses from high-capacity wells and irrigated acres in the District shall be certified with the District. Each owner or duly authorized agent shall certify the well registration number for that well, the maximum number and location of all acres irrigated, and all other uses with a registered well at least 1 out of 3 years. All domestic, public water supply or livestock uses are exempt from this rule.

On May 29th, the Little Blue Natural Resources District held a public hearing for the purpose of providing information and receiving testimony on proposed amendments to the District’s Groundwater Management Rules and Regulations. Violation of the LBNRD rules and regulations have severe penalties including but not limited to civil penalties of $1,000 to $5,000/day, and/or a reduction of groundwater allocations and/or a reduction of certified irrigated acres by the LBNRD.

Key changes proposed at the May 29th hearing included:

  • No fall fertilization of sandy lands
  • Soil sampling is required district-wide; one sample required per 80 acres of corn, sorghum or forage sorghum cropland
  • Establishment of new groundwater quantity triggers one foot (1’) below 2016 levels
  • Establishment of allocation protocol for agricultural producers – the allocation would be sixty inches (60”) over a five-year allocation period, with a one-time 5” account balance per certified acre granted in the first allocation period
  • Carry-over of unused allocation up to eight inches (8”)
  • A combining of allocations could occur when tracts are under the same ownership, adjacent and are served by a joint common irrigation system
  • Suspension of allocation would occur when water levels rise to three feet (3’) above the allocation trigger level
  • Water quality – one level of management eliminated and controls are made more uniform across sub-areas

As farm managers, we stay abreast of groundwater rules and regulations to protect your farm’s rental capacity and market value. A reduction in allocation and/or certified irrigated acres can dramatically affect both, so it’s important not to violate the LBNRD rules and regulations.

We would be happy to answer any questions you have or discuss with you in more detail how we can help you manage your farm; contact Craig Pope, Janet Germer, Renee Dowdy, or Zach Messman of BSB’s Trust Department.

Craig Pope
Bruning State Bank Trust Department
Farm Management