Burlington: Republican River rule making hearing February 9, 2017

Downtown Burlington (2014) via Wikipedia.
Downtown Burlington (2014) via Wikipedia.

From the Colorado Division of Water Resources:

The State Engineer has initiated the process to develop rules and regulations for water diversion, use, and administration for compact purposes within the Republican River Compact Groundwater Model Domain as approved by the U.S. Supreme Court in Kansas v. Nebraska & Colorado, Number 126, Original. The rulemaking will consider the requirement to offset impacts in excess of Colorado’s apportionment under the Republican River Compact as determined under the Final Settlement Stipulation, and work to ensure that all users of waters accounted for in Colorado’s Republican River Compact Accounting have a stake in ensuring ongoing compact compliance.

As part of this rulemaking process, the State Engineer has formed a Special Advisory Committee to seek advice and recommendations on the rules and regulations under consideration. This committee, comprised of volunteers representing users and interests throughout the Republican River Basin, will be asked to attend monthly meetings in the basin hosted by the State Engineer, and will work with the State Engineer, in an advisory capacity, on draft rules and regulations. These meetings will be open to the public and will include presentations related to the rulemaking followed by general discussion and work/review of draft rules.

The next meeting is scheduled to occur on February 9th, 2017 (10:00 AM – 3:00 PM) in the Recreation Room at the Burlington Community and Education Center (340 S. 14th St, Burlington, CO).

Additional information regarding this rulemaking, including draft rules, can be found on this page as it becomes available. If you are a water user or represent a water user in the basin and you would like to join the Special Advisory Committee, or you would like to be added to a distribution list for future information about this rulemaking, please contact Chris Grimes at 303-866-3581 ext. 8253 or chris.grimes@state.co.us.

This rulemaking is not to be confused with the Rules and Regulations Governing the Measurement of Ground Water Diversions Affecting the Republican River Compact, Within Water Division No. 1, as adopted by the State Engineer on September 16, 2015; a rule set that focuses on measurement devices (meters) and annual reporting requirements. These rules can be found here.

‘Call year’ declared on the Republican River by the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources

Republican River Basin by District
Republican River Basin by District

From the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources via The McCook Gazette:

The Nebraska Department of Natural Resources has determined that 2017 is a “Compact Call Year.”

On Dec. 31, 2016, DNR director Gordon W. Fassett made the announcement that this year is a “call year” according to provisions of and resolutions regarding the 1942 Republican River Compact between Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado.

Nebraska will now have to comply with terms of the Compact’s 2016 resolution, including providing Kansas with the ability to either call for delivery of its share of Republican River water as needed (from water storage in Harlan County Lake), or leave it in ground and available to Kansas water users at some future time when it’s needed more.

The resolution signed by the three states in August 2016 provides Kansas water users much more certainty that there will be a viable irrigation supply in dry periods. Nebraska will receive full credit in Compact accounting for its compliance activities, including its augmentation deliveries, provided that the water generated by its activities (“Compliance Water”) is delivered to Harlan County Reservoir in Nebraska for Kansas water users’ use.

During Compact Call Years, the Nebraska DNR regulates and administers surface water in the Republican River basin upstream of the Guide Rock Diversion Dam to ensure Nebraska’s compliance with the Compact, issuing the necessary closing notices on natural flow and storage permits in the basin until such time as DNR and river basin Natural Resources District determine that administration is no longer needed to ensure Compact compliance.

The Republican River Compact, signed Dec. 31, 1942, entitles Nebraska to 49 percent of the river’s water, while Kansas receives 40 percent and Colorado gets 11 percent. The Republican River originates in Colorado, crosses the northwestern tip of Kansas into Nebraska, then runs through Nebraska before re-entering Kansas in its northeastern corner.

The official document is here.

Manhattan: Upper Republican River Basin informational meeting, January 4, 2017

ksucampusmanhattan
Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas via Wikimedia.

From the Hays Post:

State and local water officials will host an informational meeting and discussion forum for water users and others interested in the water supply of the South Fork Republican River. The meeting will take place at 1:00 p.m. CST on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017, at the Cheyenne County 4-H building at the fairgrounds on N. College Street, St. Francis.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture and the Kansas Water Office will share information about the resolutions reached between Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska this year. Stakeholders are encouraged to attend and provide input to state water officials charged with administering the Republican River Compact. The Vision for the Future of Water Supply in Kansas includes a focus to represent Kansas in interstate water issues in order to best serve Kansas and its citizens.

“We want to hear from water users in the area as we continue to represent their needs in these interstate issues,” said Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey. “This long-term agreement reached by the three states will provide flexibility and greater certainty to all water users in this region.”

For more information on the meeting, please contact Chris Beightel at the KDA Division of Water Resources, at (785) 564-6659 or Chris.Beightel@ks.gov. To read more about the Republican River Compact, go to http://agriculture.ks.gov/RepublicanRiver.

Saint Francis, Kansas credit Wichita Eagle.
Saint Francis, Kansas credit Wichita Eagle.

Meanwhile, there is a meeting about the South Fork of the Republican River on January 4, 2017 in Saint Francis:

A meeting and discussion about the South Fork of the Republican River will begin at 1 p.m. Jan. 4 at the Cheyenne County 4-H Building in St. Francis.

Kansas Department of Agriculture and Kansas Water Office officials will share information on resolutions reached between Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska.

The Colorado agreement provides a path aimed at improving streamflow in the South Fork of the Republican, which flows through Cheyenne County in northwest Kansas. Included is a Colorado commitment to retire 25,000 more groundwater-irrigated acres to improve flows into Kansas, according to the Kansas Agriculture Department’s website.

The Nebraska agreement is billed to provide Kansas water users “much more certainty that there will be a viable irrigation supply during dry periods,” by delivering and storing “Compliance Water” to Harlan County Reservoir in southern Nebraska for Kansas irrigation use, the website reads.

Republican River Basin by District
Republican River Basin by District

Paper: Characterization of Ammonia, Methane, and Nitrous Oxide Emissions from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations in Northeastern Colorado — CIRES

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Here’s the abstract (Scott J. Eilerman, Jeff Peischl, J. Andrew Neuman, Thomas B. Ryerso, Kenneth C. Aikin, Maxwell W. Holloway, Mark A. Zondlo, Levi M. Golston, Da Pan, Cody Floerchinger, and Scott Herndon):

Atmospheric emissions from animal husbandry are important to both air quality and climate, but are hard to characterize and quantify as they differ significantly due to management practices and livestock type, and they can vary substantially throughout diurnal and seasonal cycles. Using a new mobile laboratory, ammonia (NH3), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and other trace gas emissions were measured from four concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in northeastern Colorado. Two dairies, a beef cattle feedlot, and a sheep feedlot were chosen for repeated diurnal and seasonal measurements. A consistent diurnal pattern in the NH3 to CH4 enhancement ratio is clearly observed, with midday enhancement ratios approximately four times greater than nighttime values. This diurnal pattern is similar, with slight variations in magnitude, at the four CAFOs and across seasons. The average NH3 to CH4 enhancement ratio from all seasons and CAFOs studied is 0.17 (+0.13/–0.08) mol/mol, in agreement with statewide inventory averages and previous literature. Enhancement ratios for NH3 to N2O and N2O to CH4 are also reported. The enhancement ratios can be used as a source signature to distinguish feedlot emissions from other NH3 and CH4 sources, such as fertilizer application and fossil fuel development, and the large diurnal variability is important for refining inventories, models, and emission estimates.

Republican River: “This is not nearly as restrictive as some people fear” — Deb Daniel

Republican River Basin by District
Republican River Basin by District

From The Yuma Pioneer (Tony Rayl):

The Republican River Compact Administration signed off on a resolution presented by Colorado last week during the three-state entities’ annual meeting.

The resolution lays out the final steps Colorado has to take for compliance with the Final Settlement Stipulation and Republican River Compact, between it, Nebraska and Kansas.

If Colorado meets the requirements laid out in the resolution, it will be protected from any further lawsuit filings in the matter by Kansas or Nebraska.

“It basically means Kansas can’t come after us again and again,” Colorado State Engineer Dick Wolfe said. “It doesn’t prevent them from raising some other issue we haven’t thought of yet.”

He added the states have agreed to try to work out future issues among themselves instead of immediately going to the costly and time-consuming non-binding arbitration process.

“This is not nearly as restrictive as some people fear,” Deb Daniel, general manager of the Republican River Water Conservation District, said of the resolution.

A final agreement on the use of Colorado’s compact compliance pipeline, as well as the voluntary retiring of more acreage along the South Fork of the Republican River, are the key components in the resolution. Colorado already has removed 23,838 acres from irrigation in the South Fork Republican River Basin, through voluntary retirement programs such as the federally-funded CREP.

The resolution, presented last week in Burlington by Wolfe, and signed by him and Kansas’ David Barfield and Nebraska’s Gordon W. Fassett, calls for Colorado to utilize voluntary programs to retire up to an additional 25,000 acres from irrigation in the South Fork Republican River basin.

The resolution states Colorado will retire at least 10,000 acres by 2022, and the remaining 15,000 acres by December 31, 2027. It also includes language allowing Colorado to submit to the other states for their approval a plan to reduce consumption within Colorado by other means if the state cannot or will not retire 25,000 acres by the 2027 deadline.

“It gave us and the users the most flexibility going into the future,” Wolfe said.

Daniel noted the agreement does not make any mention of stream flows or how much acre feet of water must be removed from consumptive use, only acreage.

Here’s the Coyote Gulch post with the announcement from Governor Hickenlooper’s office.

#Kansas, #Nebraska, #Colorado reach consensus on Republican River

Photo: The commissioners of the Republican River Compact Administration sign the long-term resolutions on August 24: (from left) Commissioner David Barfield, Chief Engineer, Kansas Department of Agriculture; Commissioner Dick Wolfe, State Engineer, Colorado Division of Water Resources; Commissioner Jeff Fassett, Director of Nebraska’s Department of Natural Resources, via Governor Hickenlooper's office.
Photo: The commissioners of the Republican River Compact Administration sign the long-term resolutions on August 24: (from left) Commissioner David Barfield, Chief Engineer, Kansas Department of Agriculture; Commissioner Dick Wolfe, State Engineer, Colorado Division of Water Resources; Commissioner Jeff Fassett, Director of Nebraska’s Department of Natural Resources, via Governor Hickenlooper’s office.

Here’s the release from Governor Hickenlooper’s office:

Gov. John Hickenlooper today announced Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska established an agreement this week in the longstanding conflict over water from the Republican River basin, as the Republican River Compact Administration signed two resolutions.

Representatives from the three states have been meeting monthly for over two years, in an effort to change the approach and improve how they manage interstate water matters. This effort has created a new focus on transparency and certainty as all three states work to serve their water users. The intent of these resolutions is to replace the need for annual reviews and instead provide long-term surety to water users.

“We are proud to be part of this historic agreement,” said Hickenlooper. “For the first time since signing the Compact, the three states have worked together to resolve their issues without litigation and have brought certainty to the water users in the basin. This is how we do our best work in Colorado and defines our approach to addressing our water challenges — cooperation and collaboration.”

“Signing these resolutions shows the commitment from all three states to engage in open and transparent dialogue for the past two years,” said Kansas Governor Sam Brownback. “This long-term agreement will ultimately improve water management for water users in Kansas as well as Nebraska and Colorado.”

The resolutions signed this week will provide flexibility and greater certainty to all water users in the region, while remaining consistent with the terms of the Republican River Compact and the Final Settlement Stipulation of 2002. The three states have been involved in various litigation and arbitration for the past 15 years over administration of water in the Republican River basin, and this agreement is a significant and positive step forward, with the next steps focusing on working with the basin’s water users to implement these agreements.

“It has been a priority of the states to collaborate on interstate water matters to ensure each state’s water users are protected while also maintaining a positive working relationship between the compacting states. “These resolutions represent a long-term strategy for representing each state and ultimately improving water management for water users in all three states,” said Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts.

The Republican River basin begins in the plains of eastern Colorado and flows through northwest Kansas and southern Nebraska, ultimately returning to Kansas. The Republican River Compact was negotiated during the early 1940s with participation by the states of Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska and a representative of the President of the United States. The Compact was formally signed in 1942. Its purposes are to provide for equitable division of such waters, remove all causes of controversy, promote interstate comity, promote joint action by the states and the United States in the efficient use of water and the control of destructive floods, and provide for the most efficient use of waters in the Republican River basin.

The state official in each of the three states who is charged with administering water law serves on the Republican River Compact Administration. For more information about the Compact, go to the following websites:

Colorado: http://water.state.co.us/SurfaceWater/Compacts/RepublicanRiver/Pages/RepublicanRiverHome.aspx
Kansas: http://agriculture.ks.gov/divisions-programs/dwr/interstate-rivers-and-compacts/republican-river-compact
Nebraska: http://dnr.nebraska.gov/iwm/republican-river-compact-2

RRWCD joins Colorado NRCS in funding 2016 OAI

From the Republican River Water Conservation District (Deb Daniel):

The Republican River Water Conservation District (RRWCD) acting through its Water Activity Enterprise will again partner with NRCS to encourage water conservation through the Ogallala Aquifer Initiative (OAI). The RRWCD will provide incentives to producers that voluntarily implement certain water conservation measures. Last year the RRWCD teamed up with NRCS on this program and provided $510,000 to convert approximately five hundred ten acres (510 acres) from irrigated to dryland agriculture or grassland.

This year the District has expanded their participation in the program and will also provide funding along with the NRCS incentives on short-term irrigation rotations, and certain water management improvements such as soil moisture monitoring systems, weather stations, and conversion from sprinkler irrigation to an underground drip irrigation system.

In addition to the NRCS incentives, the RRWCD will provide between six hundred ($600.00) and one thousand two hundred dollars ($1,200.00) depending on the location of the well. In addition to the permanent well retirement practice, the District will be providing incentives to eligible producers that enter into short –term (1 -3 years) rotations from irrigated cropland to dryland cropping practices. Priorities have been established to focus RRWCD funding in areas that provides the highest level of credit for Colorado in the Republican River Compact.

Recent research has suggested that high capacity wells can reduce water consumption by as much as twenty percent (20%) in some cases, with little or no effect on the overall profitability of that particular well. To supplement NRCS incentives the RRWCD has earmarked fifty thousand dollars ($50,000.00) to producers who wish to continue to irrigate, but agree to reduce pumping by at least ten percent (10%) using water conservation measures such as weather stations, soil moisture monitoring and conversion from sprinkler irrigation to an underground drip system. More efficient irrigation systems can contribute substantially to prolonging the life of the aquifer, while maintaining a strong irrigated agricultural economy.

The RRWCD has consulted with groundwater management districts, the Water Preservation Partnership, and others to develop strategies to assist producers through financial incentives to voluntarily reduce water consumption. Several surveys distributed throughout the District to producers have indicated that voluntary, incentive based practices were preferred over regulatory water restrictions. The OAI provides yet another voluntary incentive based tool that all producers can use to help prolong the life of this aquifer. It is important that each and every irrigated agriculture producer evaluate their individual irrigation practices and determine if they can help reduce their impact on the aquifer by implementing one or more of these water conservation practices.

Republican River Basin
Republican River Basin