Water-Savings Incentives

Water-Savings Incentives

The URNRD has had cost-share programs to incentivize the use of soil moisture probes since 2011. The vast majority of the probes installed under the cost share programs have been the newest generation of capicitance probes with data transmitted to irrigators via telemetry systems. Most have software programs that provide easy-to-read illustrations of available soil moisture at varying root depths and recommendations on whether irrigations are needed. Research indicates that use of the probes can reduce irrigation applications by 1"-2" annually. Discussions with irrigators who regularly use probes verify those figures. Since 2011, approximately 785 probes have been installed on more than 100,000 acres in the District under cost-share programs adminstered by the URNRD.

The District's cost share programs are sometimes dependent on grant funds. In the past, grant funds have been made available by the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the Nebraska Environmental Trust and, most recently, the State of Nebraska.

The URNRD was awarded a $123,840 grant from the State of Nebraska's Water Sustainability Fund to provide cost share for soil moisture probes in 2021 and 2022. We expect to begin accepting applications in early 2021. 

The District sells traditional moisture probes that allow growers to pull soil core samples from a depth of up to 30". To buy a probe from the District, call the office at 888-883-9066.