SCOTTSBLUFF — John Berge, General Manager of the North Platte Natural Resources District (NPNRD), announced Wednesday that the district will be working in partnership with 11 surface water districts and canal companies to divert water into their canals to provide relief from pressure on the North Platte River that could result in flooding, and for the secondary benefit of providing recharge to the aquifer before districts and canal companies in the NPNRD commence irrigation diversions.

“This has been an ongoing effort over the last several weeks beginning with contacts from concerned citizens about potential flooding, given the recent historic precipitation events and massive snowpack and contact from Senator John Stinner,” Berge said in a release. “This led us to work to apply for excess flow diversions with the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (NDNR) and culminated with very productive sessions with leadership at the Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District (CNPPID).”

Berge said the NRD was delighted that CNPPID waived its call on the river for storage and power generation at Kingsley Dam allowing us to take this action.

“Central’s General Manager Devin Brundage, his staff and the Central Board should be commended for this action,” Berge said.

The agreement will provide flood relief for several communities in the district above Lake McConaughy and will benefit the aquifer in recharge.

“We recognize that they were (and remain) entitled to their storage and power generation call on the river before our districts and canal companies commence their normal irrigation diversions, and thank them for taking this historic action,” Berge said. “I would be remiss if I didn’t publicly thank Senator Stinner and NDNR Director Jeff Fassett for their interest and action throughout this process as well.

“This is what partnership looks like.”

NPNRD entered into long-term agreements with 11 of the 23 surface water districts and canal companies in 2016 to ensure nimbleness in utilizing their infrastructure for this type of action. Districts and Canal Companies include Bridgeport, Castle Rock, Central, Chimney Rock, Enterprise, Farmers, Gering, Minatare, Mitchell, Northport and Winters Creek.

NPNRD has taken similar action in 2011 and 2016 for relief from potential flooding, saving untold acres of property and realizing between 35-40 percent recharge rate on water diverted.