No Allocation Restrictions for 2014 Irrigation Season in the Upper Big Blue
During March-April 2014, the NRD measured 495 observation wells throughout the District and then averaged the data of all these wells. Observation wells are measured in the spring of each year, allowing the water table to
rebound from the previous irrigation season.
Overall, the spring 2014 average measurement for the groundwater level change shows a decline of 2.10 feet from last spring. The findings show that the spring 2014 average groundwater level is 0.93 feet above the “Allocation Trigger”. As a result, there will be no allocation restrictions for the 2014 irrigation season. However, flow meters must now be installed on all wells by January 1, 2016.
Through the conservation efforts of groundwater users, and because of an extended period of above average rainfall in the 1980s and 1990s, the average groundwater level in the Upper Big Blue NRD rose significantly to a level in the year 2000 that was approximately seven feet higher than the 1961 level (baseline), and fourteen feet higher than the low level of 1976 to 1981.
The District goal is to hold the average groundwater level to above the 1978 level. In 2005, the District average groundwater level reached the “Reporting Trigger” initiating groundwater users to report annual groundwater use to the District and to certify their irrigated acres. If the District average level falls below the 1978 level (“Allocation Trigger”), the use of flowmeters will be required and groundwater allocation will begin.
The Upper Big Blue NRD rules and regulations mandate that producers will be responsible for installing flowmeters on existing wells if the groundwater level hits the allocation trigger. When the allocation trigger is reached and
producers and other users have not installed flowmeters by the next calendar year, then they will not be able to pump any amount of water until a flowmeter is installed. Since March 1, 2004, all new wells and replacement wells require a flowmeter.