The South Platte River that flows into Nebraska has been recently high but flooding impact has been limited.
Central Platte Natural Resources District (CPNRD) board spent almost $17 million over the last few years to rehabilitate three Dawson County irrigation canals to deal with the excess water from the river.
Most of the diversions of the river into the canals will be used to recharge dwindling groundwater and some of the water will be returned to the river.
The CPNRD is looking at building storage facilities of the canals in the future.
The Grand Island Independent reports:
“Director Keith Stafford of Kearney asked about the potential to send excess Platte water to other basins, particularly the Republican, where it would still do some good in Nebraska instead of running on down the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.
“I know that’s kind of a touchy issue, but you just kind of cry when you watch all the water roll by,” Stafford said.
Woodward agreed that it would seem to be a good idea in “exceptional times.”
“I think the options are being explored,” CPNRD General Manager Lyndon Vogt said, acknowledging that trans-basin diversions are controversial.”
This sort of infrastructure reuse is good innovation, and the ‘thinking outside the box’ that achieves this sort of program is to be encouraged.
It is good to see CPNRD and Nebraska innovating and trying new infrastructure asset management approaches to solving problems.
Similar examples can be found in large scale flood detention storage ponds that divert some of the peak flow, and then store it for future use by irrigation, or for aquifer recharge.
As noted in the article, floodwater diversion can have impacts on downstream river systems and users, and therefore has to be within the constraints of permitting and licensing boundaries.
In areas where water is getting short due to drought or other changes in weather patterns, innovation around floodwater diversion and/or storage will become increasingly viable options.
If suggested works are viable and get approved then this may flow to new capital work and subsequent operations and maintenance expenditure in the lifecycle asset management plan.
PHOTO CREDIT: George Thomas via Flickr Creative Commons License.