A Dundy County water project built by the Upper Republican NRD has begun delivering water to the Republican River.
The Rock Creek streamflow augmentation project operating in late February, but only at about half of its full capacity, says Jasper Fanning, the NRD's general manager. "It will be at full capacity in the near future," he adds.
Rock Creek is a tributary of the Republican River and joins the Republican just outside of Parks in southwest Nebraska.
"The United States Geological Survey operates a stream gauge at Parks and the most recent reading from the gauge indicated Rock Creek flows were 24 cubic feet per second," Fanning adds. Flows registered before the NRD began operating the project were about 7 cfs. Engineers have determined that Rock Creek has plenty of capacity to handle the additional flows, he adds.
"We're very pleased that the project is operating as we expected, and such a large percentage of the water we are providing is already reaching the Republican River," according to Fanning. "It will help both groundwater and surface water users throughout the Republican Basin without creating additional demands on the Ogallala Aquifer that is so vital to the future of this region."
The project has the potential to help surface water users by decreasing the amount of time that surface water availability is curtailed by the state to help ensure compliance with the Republican River Compact. It could help allow the continued use of surface water that otherwise would be shutdown to achieve compliance with the three-state Republican River Compact.
For groundwater users, the project will help prevent severe and sudden regulations of their water use to maintain Compact compliance. Non-agricultural water users could also benefit due to the groundwater recharge that occurs as the Rock Creek water makes its way downstream, Fanning says.