Report says Lake McConaughy is significantly smaller due to irrigation
March 20, 2009

A report commissioned by the Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District says that the North Platte River and Lake McConaughy (which is fed by the river) are being drained by irrigation at a rate considerably faster than nature is recharging the area's water resources. While municipal drinking water is the use most people encounter more often than any other, irrigation uses 8,790,000,000 gallons of Nebraska's total 12,200,000,000 gallons of daily water use. When the amounts used for electrical power generation (which are typically returned back to streams and rivers) are excepted, then irrigation represents more of Nebraska water use than all other categories combined, by several times over. The agriculture that depends upon irrigation is a key component of Nebraska's state economy, but the report does shed light on the conflicting interests of different categories of water users in the state.

March 2009
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last revised March 2009