New five-year water allocation to remain at 65 inches
Rules and regulations for the next five years for the Upper Republican Natural Resources District have not been fully completed but one thing is for sure—the allocation will remain at 65 inches.
If used equally, that amounts to 13 inches per year. However, the allocation is not based on annual usage but over the five-year period. That provides the irrigator some latitude based on weather conditions.
If it’s a wet year and an irrigator uses just 11 inches, they don’t lose the other two inches. Then, if the next year is dry, they could use 18 inches.
The true-up comes in the fifth year. In that year, their pumping can’t exceed 65 inches for the five-year period. If after the fifth year the irrigator has exceeded the 65-inch threshold, the amount of overuse is deducted from the next allocation period at a rate of 2-to-1.
If an irrigator used 68 inches in the five-year period, that irrigator would go into the next allocation period with six less inches of water. (68 inches minus 65-inch allocation=3 inches times the 2-to-1 penalty resulting in a six-inch deduction going into the next allocation period).
In the next allocation period, if the irrigator limits usage to 59 inches (assuming another 65-inch allocation), then they would restore their full allocation going into the next period.