- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

HOLDREGE, Neb. (AP) - The managers of Nebraska’s biggest reservoir expect to be able to give farmers the full amount of irrigation water this year, but that forecast could still change in the spring.

The Kearney Hub reports (https://bit.ly/1GjCJQn ) civil engineer Cory Steinke told the Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District board that Lake McConaughy is in good shape at this stage and 77 percent full.

But it’s hard to predict how much water will flow into the lake this spring from rain and snow melting in the mountains. Steinke said snowpack in the North Platte River basin is at 79 percent of normal and the South Platte basin’s snowpack is above normal at 108 percent.

Steinke told the board Monday that 2015 isn’t shaping up to be especially wet or dry in the Platte River basin.

The fact that last year’s conditions were wetter than expected helped keep Lake McConaughy from getting too low. The high water levels in the South Platte River during the fall and winter also helped the irrigation district recover.

Steinke said he hopes healthy flows will continue in the South Platte River this spring and wet weather will arrive during the growing season. That would allow the district to limit how much water it takes out of Lake McConaughy.

Farmers served by the irrigation district are expecting at least 12 inches of water an acre during the growing season. If the district delivers a full allocation of water, farmers can expect up to 18 inches of water per acre.

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Information from: Kearney Hub, https://www.kearneyhub.com/

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