The Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District’s board of directors voted Tuesday to renew a water leasing agreement with the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program (PRRIP) for five more years.
Under the agreement, Central will offer to lease surface water from its customers during the 2019 irrigation season provided the customer agrees to not irrigate those lands with either groundwater or surface water. Water that is leased will be credited to the environmental account in Lake McConaughy — managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to benefit endangered species habitat along the central Platte River — in October of 2019.
Central and PRRIP have been using annual contracts for the Water Leasing Program for the past three years, with a growing number of irrigation customers choosing to participate each year. The new contract ensures the PRRIP that Central will work with irrigation customers over the five-year period on leasing possibilities, provided that there are not any years during which customers are allocated less than their contracted amount of water because of low storage conditions at Lake McConaughy.