The Republican River has recently increased its flows with the help of a new stream flow enhancement project.
The Rock Creek Augmentation Project began about a week ago running at around half capacity. The project has increased the flow of Rock creek from about 7 cubic feet per second to 24 cfs, according to the most recent gauge reading.
The increased water flow in Rock Creek benefits the Republican River by increasing its flow where the two waterways meet just outside of Parks, Neb.
"We're very pleased that the project is operating as we expected and such a large percentage of the water we are providing is already reaching the Republican River," said Jasper Fanning, general manager of the Upper Republican NRD, the group that initiated the project.
"It will help both groundwater and surface water users throughout the Republican Basin without creating additional demands on the Ogallala Aquifer that is so vital to the future of this region," added Fanning.
The project hopes to help those using surface water that draws from the Republican River. Because of the Republican River Compact, water use could be shut down to maintain compliance with the compact which would adversely affect those dependent of that water.
The project was made possible by the Upper Republican's purchase in early 2011 of 3,260 irrigated acres located several miles north of Parks near what used to be the headwaters of Rock Creek.
The NRD retired the land from irrigated production to help increase stream flows. The water from the irrigation wells is pumped to a spot about a mile north of the Rock Creek Fish Hatchery, which contributes to the production of nearly half the trout stocked throughout Nebraska.
A similar project is in the works in Lincoln County by the Upper, Middle, Lower Republican NRDs and the Twin Platte NRD.