Wray: #RepublicanRiver Water Conservation District to Hold Regular Quarterly Board Meeting, November 19, 2019

Wray in 2004. By No machine-readable author provided. Waltraux~commonswiki assumed (based on copyright claims). – No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=398753

From the Republican River Water Conservation District via The Julesberg Advocate:

The Board of Directors of the Republican River Water Conservation District will be holding its regular quarterly meeting in Wray, Colorado. The date, time, and location of the meeting and a summary of the agenda for the meeting are provided below.

Regular Meeting of the RRWCD Board
Date: Tuesday November 19, 2019
Time: 10:00AM to 4:30PM

Agenda:

  • Consider and potentially approve minutes of previous meetings; Board President’s report, General Manager’s report and consider and potentially approve quarterly financial report and expenditures.
  • Report from the Compact Compliance Pipeline operator.
  • Hearing of the Board, 2020 Budget Hearing and Water Use Fee Policy Hearing.
  • Receive report from chairmen of all RRWCD committees and associated organizations.
  • Receive report from Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser.
  • Receive program updates and reports from the RRWCD’s engineer, federal and state lobbyists and legal counsel, Report by State Engineer’s Office, presentation by Alexander Funk to report on new funding programs available through CWCB.
  • Discuss and vote on Resolutions, discuss and vote on incentive payments to well owners in the South Fork Focus Zone who permanently retire their irrigation water right through the CREP program.
  • Receive and vote on support for soil moisture probe grant request from Yuma County Conservation District
  • Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District board meeting recap — Sterling Journal-Advocate

    South Platte River Basin via Wikipedia

    From The Sterling Journal-Advocate (Jeff Rice):

    Owners of 12 so-called “gap wells” in Sedgwick County won’t be double-billed for being in two augmentation plans thanks to an agreement in the works with the Republican River Water Conservation District.

    Left unanswered is the question of whether the wells would have to be curtailed if the Republican District is required to shut down its wells.

    Joe Frank, manager of the Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District, told his board of directors Tuesday that the Republican District has met with the Sedgwick County well owners to discuss an agreement that would prevent them from having to pay the per-acre fee to that district as long as they’re included in another augmentation plan. Eleven of the wells are in the LSPWCD’s augmentation plan and the twelfth well is another plan.

    The proposed agreement is the upshot of state legislation establishing new boundaries for the RRWCD to include wells in Kit Carson, Cheyenne and Washington counties that are impacting the Republican River. When the Colorado Department of Water Resources used the U.S. Geological Survey’s data to redraw the boundaries, however, it was found that the 12 “gap wells” in Sedgwick County, originally thought to be in the South Platte River basin, actually were inside the Republican River basin. One of those wells is physically less than a mile from the South Platte River…

    Wells within the district are assessed an annual fee of $14.50 per irrigated acre to pay for augmentation of the Republican River to keep Colorado in compliance.

    Frank said that he doesn’t know whether that agreement has been signed yet. The Journal-Advocate had not been able to contact the Republican District Tuesday afternoon.

    While the agreement over fees would be a fairly easy fix – the legislation adopting the new boundary has nearly identical language in it protecting those well owners – the question of curtailment is stickier. Frank said a practical solution would be to not curtail the Sedgwick County wells, since they have so little impact on the Republican River…

    In other business, the LSPWCD formally adopted it 2020 budget on a voice vote.

    The district’s proposed budget is $1,173,586, about a 4 percent increase over the 2019 budget. Most of the increase is accounted for by increased personnel costs and an anticipated increase in legal costs.

    Again this year the budget is swollen by a quarter-million-dollar grant from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to fund the Northeast Colorado Water Cooperative. Irrigators and other water users often have augmentation plans to offset the effects water well pumping has on the river. These plans can result in users having credits, or excess water available, that they can’t use. Rather than just lose the credits downstream, NCWC helps transfer those credits to someone who needs them in an efficient manner. Members of the cooperative also work to find ways to develop infrastructure for water exchanges, primarily when water augmentation plans are involved.

    Say hello to the #Colorado Master Irrigator program

    Photo credit: Colorado Master Irrigator

    Click here to visit the website:

    Colorado Master Irrigator is an intensive, 4-day, 32-hour educational course for Republican River Basin irrigators.​

    The Colorado Master Irrigator program is focused on offering advanced training in conservation-oriented, irrigation management practices for farmers and farm managers. Area producers from the Republican River Basin have led the curriculum development of this program.

    Topic experts including University Extension specialists will serve as instructors for this course. The in-depth and interactive class format will encourage peer-to-peer exchange among participants and instructors.
    The goal of Colorado Master Irrigator is for producers to graduate from program equipped with examples and insights on how they might potentially increase or maintain profitability by implementing different tools and strategies on their operations to improve:
    – water use efficiency
    – energy-use efficiency
    – water conservation
    – soil health

    From Colorado Master Irrigator (Brandi Baquera) via The Julesberg Advocate:

    How to improve agricultural water management to increase water and energy use efficiency, water conservation, and overall farm profitability is the focus of a new, annual four-day educational program called “Colorado Master Irrigator” that will be available to Republican River Basin irrigators next year.

    The Colorado Master Irrigator program curriculum will be taught by topic experts from Colorado and from other Ogallala states. The program’s interactive course format will encourage peer-to-peer exchange among farmers, including with some farmer instructors who will share insights they’ve gained through taking steps to increase water and energy-use efficiency and conservation on their operations. The main goal of the Colorado Master Irrigator program is to serve today’s farmers while benefitting the Ogallala aquifer resource that is so important for irrigators and the region’s communities.

    A ~35-member advisory committee has met monthly throughout 2019 to design and prepare the program for launch in early 2020. The advisory committee is made up of producers from across the Republican River Basin along with agricultural consultants, local landowners, Colorado State University Extension, state and federal agency staff, and others.

    The Colorado Master Irrigator program will cover practical and economic aspects related to the adoption of a wide range of agricultural water management tools, technologies, and strategies. “Colorado Master Irrigator is about helping us farmers figure out how we can get the perfect amount of water on our crops,” said Brian Lengel, a Burlington-area producer who serves on the program’s advisory committee.

    On September 18, 2019, Colorado Master Irrigator was awarded a Water Reserve Supply Fund (WSRF) grant that will help support the program’s continued development over the next three years. Several local grants, along with funds awarded by CSU’s Water Center, served as matching funds required in applying for this state-level funding.

    “Significant amounts of time and creativity, contributed by area farmers in particular, has been crucial in terms of developing the Colorado Master Irrigator program and attracting the support necessary to successfully establish this program,” said Brandi Baquera, Colorado Master Irrigator’s program coordinator.

    The four-day course, which will cost $100, will take place in Wray over four consecutive weeks: February 12, February 17, February 26, and March 4, 2020. To graduate, participants must complete all 32 course hours, engage with classmates and instructors, and consider committing to using certain agricultural water management strategies and tools covered by the program.

    For more information, visit http://www.comasterirrigator.org. Colorado Master Irrigator is also on Twitter (@COIrrigator) and Facebook (@comasterirrigator).

    Ogallala aquifer via USGS

    Republican River Water Conservation District (RRWCD) Board meeting recap

    Kansas River Basin including the Republican River watershed. Map credit: By Kmusser – Self-made, based on USGS data., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4390886

    From the Republican River Water Conservation District (Deb Daniel) via The Julesberg Advocate:

    At the beginning of the Republican River Water Conservation District (RRWCD) Board meeting last week, the Board welcomed 2 new Board members. Rod Lenz, RRWCD Board President, swore in Brooke Campbell, from Cheyenne Wells, who will be representing the East Cheyenne Ground Water Management District and Jim Hadachek, also from Cheyenne Wells, who will be representing Cheyenne County on the RRWCD Board.

    On August 2, 2019, House Bill 19-1029 went into effect. The bill modified the boundary of the Republican River Water Conservation District (RRWCD) to include the southern portion of Kit Carson County and an area in the northern portion of Cheyenne County. All counties and groundwater management districts in the RRWCD are represented on the Board of Directors

    The change in the boundary brought approximately 332 wells and the associated irrigated acreage into the RRWCD. The annual diversions from these wells has always been included in the groundwater model which tracks the use of water within each state, from which the depletions to the river are calculated, but because they were not been included in the RRWCD boundary, they have not paid the Water Use Fee as have the well owners that are located in the current RRWCD boundary.

    For 2019, the RRWCD Board voted to charge a pro-rated rate of $6.00 per irrigated acre to the wells in this area instead of the $14.50 that is assessed on irrigated acres in the RRWCD. All irrigated acres will have the same assessment in 2020.

    Effective immediately, the Board approved allowing all acres in the RRWCD be eligible for the EQIP program, which is administered through the NRCS. Anyone interested in more information on the EQIP program should contact your local NRCS office.

    Former Senator Greg Brophy gave a presentation on House Bill 19-1327, which is now Proposition DD, to put sports betting on the ballot. The goal of this legislation is to provide a stable funding source to implement the Colorado Water Plan.

    The RRWCD approved conservation grant applications from Marks Butte, Frenchman, Sandhills and Central Yuma Groundwater Management Districts (Big 4 GWMDS). The Big 4 GWMDs requested that the grant funds be forwarded to the Colorado Master Irrigator program.

    The Board also approved the conservation grant application by W-Y GWMD, requesting funds that will assist in covering costs for implementing conservation efforts in their district.

    The RRWCD endorsed an agreement for well owners in the northern portion of the district who have augmentation plans to the Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District or to Sedgwick Water District.

    Well owners located in the South Fork Focus Zone who enter into a new CREP contract are now eligible for an additional one-time payment of $200 per irrigated acre retired. The two million dollars of funding for the supplemental contract is provided by the State of Colorado.

    If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Deb Daniel, RRWCD General Manager (970)332-3552.

    Republican River Water Conservation District board meeting, August 20, 2019

    Shirley Hotel Haxtun, Colorado via History Colorado

    From the Republican River Water Conservation District (Deb Daniel) via The Julesberg Advocate:

    The Board of Directors of the Republican River Water Conservation District will be holding its regular quarterly meeting in Haxtun, Colorado. The date, time, and location of the meeting and a summary of the agenda for the meeting are provided below.

    Regular Meeting of the RRWCD Board Date: Tuesday August 20, 2019 Time: 10:00AM to 4:15PM

    Agenda: Consider and potentially approve minutes of previous meetings; Board President’s report, General Manager’s report and consider and potentially approve quarterly financial report and expenditures. Report from the Compact Compliance Pipeline operator; receive report from chairmen of all RRWCD committees; receive program updates and reports from the RRWCD’s engineer, federal and state lobbyists reports, legal counsel reports. Public Comment will be at 1:00PM rrwcd Report by State Engineer’s Office and Attorney General’s Office, Consider grants applications from Groundwater Management Districts, consider various Resolutions including, RRWCD meeting date changes, increasing area of EQIP program to include acres from boundary change, approve edits in RRWCD By-laws, and consider edits made to Board Manual, and consider water use fee on acres brought into the RRWCD boundary due to HB19-1029. Consider contract with well owners who have augmentation plan to the Lower South Platte If necessary, the RRWCD Board of Directors will hold an executive session to receive legal advice on legal questions and litigation concerning South Fork water rights; to discuss and determine positions, develop strategies, and instrauct negotiators concerning the purchase or lease of water rights; determine positions and instruct negotiators concerning water supply acquisition, receive legal advice on legal questions related to such agreements, contracts and easements, discuss program applications; Compact Compliance and discussions with Kansas (to the extent subject to privilege), and the Compact Compliance Pipeline and Bonny Reservoir

    Location: Haxtun Community Center
    145 South Colorado
    Haxtun, CO 80731

    For further information concerning the details of this meeting, please contact:

    Deb Daniel, General Manager
    Republican River Water Conservation District
    Phone 970-332-3552 Email deb.daniel@rrwcd.com
    RRWCD Website http://www.republicanriver.com

    Republican River Basin. By Kansas Department of Agriculture – Kansas Department of Agriculture, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7123610

    Governor Kelly appoints three members to #Kansas Water Authority

    Rivers of Kansas map via Geology.com

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

    Governor Laura Kelly appointed three members to the Kansas Water Authority. The Kansas Water Authority plans for the development, management and use of state water resources by state or local agencies.

    Kelly appointed the following members:

    1) David Stroberg (R), Hutchinson, for the central Kansas groundwater management district seat, from names provided per statute K.S.A. 74-2622 by districts #2 and #5.

    2) Chris Ladwig (U), Derby and Spirit Aerosystems, for the industrial water users seat, from names provided per statute K.S.A. 74-2622 by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.

    3) State Senator Carolyn McGinn (R), Sedgwick, for the environment and conservation seat, replacing Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Secretary Brad Loveless.

    The Kansas Water Authority is made up of 24 members. Of these 24 members, 13 are appointed positions. The governor appoints 11 members, including the chair. One member shall be appointed by the President of the Senate, and one member shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

    Of the members appointed under this provision, the Governor appoints from the following requirements:

    1) One shall be a representative of large municipal water users;
    2) One shall be a representative of small municipal water users;
    3) One shall be a board member of a western Kansas Groundwater Management District;
    4) One shall be a board member of a central Kansas Groundwater Management District;
    5) One shall be a member of the Kansas Association of Conservation Districts;
    6) One shall be a representative of industrial water users;
    7) One shall be a member of the state Association of Watershed Districts;
    8) One shall have a demonstrated background and interest in water use, conservation and environmental issues;
    9-10) Two shall be representatives of the general public.

    The Republican River Water Conservation District Purchases Several Surface Water Rights: Irrigated acres associated with 27.5 CFS subject to dry-up

    From the Republican River Water Conservation District via The Julesberg Advoacate:

    In an effort to increase the surface water flows in the Republican River system, the Republican River Water Conservation District has recently purchased and leased multiple surface water rights on both the North Fork and South Fork Republican Rivers. By keeping the surface water in the river, the RRWCD is greatly enhancing the ability of the State of Colorado to stay in compliance with the Republican River Compact. Due to the extensive efforts of the RRWCD and the Colorado State Engineer’s office, Colorado will be in compliance with the Compact in 2019.

    This will be the first year since the Final Settlement Stipulation was signed in 2002, that Colorado will be in compact compliance.

    In the Annual Compact accounting 60% of all surface diversions are treated as depletions to the flows of the rivers and those depletions must be replaced through the Compact Compliance Pipeline. This requires considerably more water than off-setting comparable groundwater pumping. Last week, the RRWCD purchased the Hayes Creek Ditch and the Hayes Creek Ditch #3 surfacewater rights on a tributary of the North Fork Republican River. Some of these water rights were diverted each year, and the RRWCD was required to off-set those diversions with additional pumping from the compact compliance pipeline.

    The RRWCD also purchased and leased a total of 27.5 cubic feet per second of surface water rights formerly owned by the Hutton Foundation Trust. Significant diversions on the South Fork have impacted Colorado’s efforts to come in to compliance with the Compact. As part of the Compact accounting there are tests for State Wide compliance and tests for each sub-basin. When calculating the sub-basin non-impairment test, additional diversions on the South Fork can contribute to a failure to meet the Compact non-compliance. By purchasing the surface water rights, the RRWCD can insure that the water will stay in the stream and will be measured at the state-line gage and again at the compact gage near Benkelman, NE.

    After years of legal conflict, all entities can stop litigation because by purchasing these surface water rights, all legal actions by the Hutton Foundation Trust or by CPW, Inc. will be terminated. By purchasing the South Fork surface water rights, the RRWCD will not have to operate the Compact Compliance pipeline an additional 17 days that would be required to off-set the amount of water these rights would otherwise be entitled to divert.

    The Republican River Compact Administration (RRCA) has approved the operation and accounting for the Compact Compliance Pipeline. As part of getting this approval, Colorado agreed to voluntarily retire up to 25,000 acres in the South Fork Focus Zone (SFFZ) by 2029. Colorado is pursuing 10,000 retired irrigated acres in the SFFZ by 2024 and an additional 15,000 retired irrigated acres by 2029.

    Drying up the acres formerly irrigated by these surface water rights will contribute to the total of retired irrigated acres in the SFFZ, but Colorado is still far from the 10,000 acres to be retired by 2024.

    The RRWCD continues to offer supplemental contracts for CREP and for EQIP conservation programs. The District offers increased annual payments for acres retired in the South Fork Focus Zone.

    Currently the FSA, NRCS, the State of Colorado and the RRWCD are waiting for the USDA to publish the Rules and Regulations for the 2018 Farm Bill. As soon as the rules and regulations are published, producers can start applying for these conservation programs.

    The consensus of the RRWCD Board is that by completing these purchases, it improves the ability to secure compact compliance now and into the future.

    The RRWCD also approved a Water Use Fee Policy during the quarterly Board meeting on April 25th in Yuma. The Water Use Fee Policy includes a fee for junior surface water right diversions, and it modifies the annual fee for municipal and commercial wells. A copy of the fee policy is available on the RRWCD website at http://www.republicanriver.com.

    If you have any questions please contact Rod Lenz, RRWCD President, 970-630-3265, Deb Daniel, RRWCD General Manager, 970-332-3552 or contact any RRWCD Board member.