Groundwater Transfers Information Request
The Upper Big Blue NRD has been asked to clarify rules regarding groundwater transfers, due to the discussions about proposed renewable energy developments in the district.
The following information was provided to a district resident as well as to Omaha Public Power District concerning this topic:
Rule 5-- Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District Groundwater Management Rules and Regulations; Regulations for Groundwater Management Area #1 Chapter 11 Groundwater Transfers outlines all the conditions which need to be met before a groundwater transfer can occur. I have attached a copy to this document and they can also be found on our website via the following link.
There are several conditions in the Rules which need to be highlighted. For agriculture transfers the first item is, only the owner of the land can apply for a transfer--the lessee cannot apply for an owner.
Secondly, the land must be directly adjacent or diagonal (contiguous). For other user transfers, a report of title maybe be required, the land must be directly adjacent or diagonal (contiguous) and if pumping more than 250-acre feet annually, a hydrologic evaluation is required.
Also, we consulted with the district's legal counsel on the possibility or probability of a transfer. Mr. Blankenau stated, "In response to your concerns about OPPD transferring water out of the District, you may rest assured that is not the case. Drilling wells and transporting water out-of-district would require OPPD (or any other water user), to apply to the District for the appropriate permits. No such applications have been received or are expected. We further note that OPPD is a provider of public power. It is not engaged in, nor is it authorized to, provide water to the public".