Spring moisture has improved somewhat from last year and we expect summer to follow suit however, nothing in the forecast is indicating “wet” summer conditions at this time.
Short of an epic rain event upstream of Lake McConaughy, Central irrigators will have a 9 acre-inch/acre water allocation in 2014. One-year delivery transfers have been allowed between farms and those transactions are complete. Groundwater transfers through Central’s canals will be allowed where possible and where approved by the Tri-Basin NRD.
A slow fill of the canals has begun with a combined flow of South Platte River water and our small, mandatory releases from McConaughy. Unless water supply conditions change substantially, water from the supply canal lakes, including Johnson Lake, must be used for the last irrigation to conserve water supply for the 2015 season in McConaughy.
There will be near 530 pivots, several new swing arms and 17 sub-surface drip systems on the Central system in 2014. Gated irrigation pipe is fast becoming a relic of the past. Central producers have made significant investments to stretch their water supply while increasing yield. Beyond the irrigation systems upgrades; precision equipment, no-till, strip-till, and field soil moisture and weather monitoring are becoming the norm. Our producers are definitely the A-team, bringing their game to 2014!
As of May 12th, Elwood Reservoir surface elevation is 2,583.8’ above MSL or 23.2’ below conservation pool. It will not be filled for irrigation this season but could possibly see summer gains if excess flows occur in the Platte River. Lake McConaughy surface elevation is 3,238.0’ or 27.0’ below conservation pool and is storing 1,043,000 acre-feet of water.
Submitted by Marcia Trompke, CNPPID Conservation Director