Little Blue NRD Issues Well-Drilling Stay

Farmers in the Hastings area may not be able to drill new wells, with a six month stay ordered.

The Little Blue Natural Resources District issued the stay on what it calls high capacity wells.

The board also proposed new rules, like requiring flow meters on wells.

The Little Blue NRD includes Kenesaw, Blue Hill, Edgar, and the south side of Hastings among other areas. The announcement follows several months of deliberation.

The board passed a draft of the new rules this week. They will hold a public hearing on March 20, at 1:30 in Davenport to accept testimony on the proposed rules.

Some of the key recommendations in the Groundwater Management Plan Rules and Regulations are:

The "Aquifer Less Than 10 Feet" groundwater areas would be closed to "high" capacity well development.

Permitting Process: A permit will be issued only after District staff has determined that the proposed well and irrigation development: meets a minimum aquifer score of 80 points calculated using the Little Blue NRD Hydro-Geologic Study; or has met the test requirement for wells with aquifer scores of less the 80 points documenting the wells capacity and potential impacts to adjoining water wells. And no more than one high capacity well shall be allowed per eighty acres of land within the "Very High Risk" area.

Spacing requirements: Wells located in the "Very High Risk" area After May 12, 2014, permits for new high capacity irrigation wells which lie in the "Very High Risk " areas shall be a minimum of 1,250 feet from any existing irrigation or municipal well and, if within 1 mile of the municipal well, may carry additional permit conditions for protection of municipal water supply at the discretion of the District.

All new high capacity wells shall be located no closer than 500 feet to the nearest registered domestic water well. Any existing well in place prior to the effective date (May 12, 2014) of this rule is grandfathered. A domestic well may be constructed closer than 500' to a high capacity well at the domestic well owner's risk.

Transfers: Transfers to adjoining land tracts shall be prohibited if 1) there is no groundwater aquifer under the receiving tract even though they are located in the same section of land, the aquifer that underlies the receiving tract is incapable of providing enough water to support the irrigation system on the receiving tract on its own, or more than two high capacity wells would be required to support the irrigation system of the receiving tract.

Meter Requirements: 1) All high capacity water wells which are required to be registered within the Little Blue NRD shall have an approved flow meter installed and operational in accordance with the following installation schedule:
Wells in the northeast quarter of the section – Installation Deadline - December 31, 2014.
Wells in the northwest quarter of the section – Installation Deadline -September 30, 2015.
Wells in the southwest quarter of the section – Installation Deadline - June 30, 2016.
Wells in the southeast quarter of the section – Installation Deadline - March 31, 2017.

Certifying Acres: On or before April 1, 2015, the certification of all groundwater irrigated acres and uses in the District is required.

Operator Certification 1) All persons engaged in the use, application and storage of nitrogen fertilizers and irrigation management in the District are required to participate in a mandatory operator certification. Re-certification is required every four years. All operators must obtaining certification by April 1, 2018.