Despite Heavy Snowfalls, North Platte River Water Forecasts Fall Short


Producers in western Nebraska could be seeing a shortage ofirrigation water this summer.

Despite heavy snowfalls in the head–waters of the North Platte River, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is predicting that upcoming runoff combined with existing water in Pathfinder and Guernsey reservoirs through July will not be enough to irrigate the whole region.

The bureau is forecasting that there will only be enough water to cover 800,000 acre-feet (an acre-foot covers one acre with 1 foot of water), only 72 percent of the amount needed for irrigation.

In February, Wyoming State Engineer Pat Tyrrell issued the first wintertime call on water rights for Wyoming's portion of the river in eight years. The purpose was to help fill the reservoirs and Tyrrell lifted the call May 1 as planned.