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Thesis (M.S.)—University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1971. Department of Agricultural Economics.


Copyright 1971, the author. Used by permission.


Supplemental irrigation water supplies will be required if the present rate of groundwater withdrawal is continued. An alternate irrigation water supply source will be needed even sooner if irrigation developmental trends continue. The purpose of this study is to determine the least cost method of supplying irrigation water to the Box Butte County area from an alternate source. This suggests the importation of water into the region since adequate supplies do not exist within the county.

Irrigation water requirements will be determined as a criteria for project water supply. Costing and associated water losses for project component structures will be developed and used in the selection of the least cost method of meeting the irrigation water requirements. Total project cost and cost per acre-foot of water will be determined.

Specific objectives are:

  1. To determine irrigation water requirements for Box Butte County in 1980.

  2. To develop costs and technical coefficients which can be used in a process for the selection of irrigation project component structures.

  3. To determine the least cost method of meeting the irrigation water requirement criteria.

  4. To determine the total project cost.

  5. To determine the cost per acre-foot of supplying the required irrigation water.

The irrigation water requirement for Box Butte County in 1980 was determined to be 159,481 acre-feet. This is the irrigation requirement for an estimated 73,800 acres which are expected to be developed for irrigation by then. The irrigation requirement is 2.16 acre-feet per acre with an average effective irrigation requirement of about 15 ¼ inches for the crops grown in the area.

The least cost method of supplying irrigation water from outside the county involves a system for extraction of groundwater from southern Sheridan County and moving it into Box Butte County. The system includes 465 wells located along a canal and collection lines in Sheridan County. A surface storage reservoir with about 61,300 acre-feet capacity is located on Box Butte Creek. A nineteen mile pipeline is required to lift water a height of 100 to 400 feet from the reservoir to the four irrigation areas. Lateral distribution systems are required to deliver water to the four irrigation areas and structures for the return of waste water are required. On-site wells which recycle percolated water are also included in the least cost system.

Advisor: Maurice Baker