Big Nebraska reservoir to curb irrigation releases

HOLDREGE, Neb. -- The managers of Nebraska's biggest reservoir will reduce water supplies to irrigators next year.

The Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District's board of directors on Monday voted to limit farmers to 10 inches of water an acre. Normally, irrigation customers could expect up to 18 inches an acre over 12 weeks.

The state remains gripped by a drought that has raised demand for irrigation water from district resources that include giant Lake McConaughy near Ogallala in western Nebraska.

McConaughy ended the irrigation season at 53 percent of capacity. Since Oct. 1 last year, inflows were about 750,000 acre-feet, compared with a historical average of 929,000 acre-feet. The district inflow projection for the coming water year of Oct. 1, 2012, through Sept. 30, 2013, is about 546,000 acre-feet.