NCORPE Operations Cease

NCORPE Operations Cease

Monday, June 13, 2016

Dickens, Neb. – The NCORPE augmentation project in Lincoln County has ceased Republican River Compact compliance operations for the spring of 2016, having prevented an irrigation shutdown on approximately 300,000 acres in the Republican Basin.

 "An irrigation shutdown of that scale would have been a severe and unnecessary blow to the regional economy,” said NCORPE Manager Kyle Shepherd. “We’re pleased the project helped the basin avoid that outcome.”

 This year Nebraska faced a projected 2015-2016 shortfall of more than 46,000 acre feet to maintain compliance with the Republican River Compact and provided approximately 35,000 acre feet via NCORPE. State officials will assess water availability relative to compact accounting over the summer months and determine in the early fall how much of the remaining 11,000 acre feet, if any, needs to be provided late this year or early next year.  Combined with other actions by the NRDs in the Republican Basin, the NCORPE project has prevented a massive irrigation shutdown in 2016 to maintain compact compliance. The project achieved he same results in 2014 and 2015.

 A compact compliance accounting change approved by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 and agreements with Kansas that give Nebraska 100% credit for augmentation water instead of 54% previously attributed to NCORPE decreased by more than half the amount of water that had to be pumped from NCORPE.  The accounting change ensures that in compact compliance accounting, Nebraska is no longer charged with consuming water that seeps into the Republican Basin from the Platte Basin. The benefit may be approximately 10,000 acre feet annually. 

 NCORPE is an interlocal agency comprised of the Upper Republican, Middle Republican, Lower Republican and Twin Platte NRDs. The project enhances stream flow with water that otherwise would have irrigated 16,000 acres owned by NCORPE in Lincoln County. It is also the largest Sandhills restoration project in the history of the State of Nebraska.