The following information is related to the current years water usage.
The bottom line is that we are in great shape, especially for a dry year. Read on for more detail.
As of August 30, the total storage in McGregor, Travers, and Little Bow reservoirs is approximately 339,000 acre feet, which is 10,000 acre feet above the normal target volume for winter storage. The minimum total storage this year was about 313,000 acre feet in early August. The total diversion from the river so far is 412,000 acre feet, which is 76% of the total allocation for all licences diverted at Carseland. We are continuing to increase reservoir levels for now and will easily achieve normal winter storage.
The diversion from Little Bow reservoir has been 294,000 acre feet so far, which is 32% above average for this period. Demand for water was high through July, but our water use in August will be well below the August average. A graph showing our diversion from Little Bow Reservoir including averages and daily record highs and lows is shown below. Total water use this year has been similar to 2017, and lower than in 1988, 2000, and 2001.
The water limit is 20 inches for sprinkler irrigation and 24 inches for flood irrigation, but the water allotment for each farm is pooled, so a parcel can use more than the limit, provided another parcel within the same farm uses correspondingly less than the limit. All the land within the same actual farm is considered when determining the total water allotment, regardless of the name on the title. For example, if Mr. Irrigator owns one quarter, Mr. and Mrs. Irrigator own one quarter, and Irrigator Farms Ltd. owns three quarters, the water for all five quarters is pooled.
Once an irrigator has used their entire allotment, they can purchase one additional four inch per acre block for any or all of their parcels, at a price of $4.00 per acre. In that case, the additional block is added to their pool so they don’t need to buy a block for each parcel that will use over 20 inches if they will only be slightly over. As a simple example, if an irrigator has four quarters with 160 irrigation acres per quarter, and they need to use 21 inches per quarter, they could buy extra water for one quarter for $640 and then apply one inch to each of their four quarters.
We are checking our database daily to see who is approaching 15 inches of total irrigation, and ditchriders will notify irrigators when they reach that amount. We will then notify them again if they are going to exceed the limit, to allow them to decide whether to purchase extra water or stop irrigating. It is essential that you as irrigators also keep track of your water use. If you have any questions, please contact your ditchrider or call the office.
We also ask that you make sure you give at least 24 hours notice of water orders to either begin or end irrigating to your ditchrider. This is essential to manage the system properly and reduce spill, which is especially important in a year like this.