Growing up on a farm in western Nebraska, spring has always held a special place in my heart. There is nothing better than the smell of a freshly worked field or spotting that first tiny sprig of green poking through the flowerbed after a long, cold winter. Nothing beats the elation of finding the first “Easter Egg” of the year (my family’s term for baby calves) or hearing meadowlarks chirp cheerfully on a sunny afternoon. The days get longer and the weather warmer — well, in between those agonizing March snow storms. Yes, it’s finally here — springtime in Nebraska!
Here at NPPD, those of us in the Water Systems department also look forward to spring. It won’t be long before the snowmelt will start high in the mountains of Colorado and Wyoming. Some of this water will infiltrate into the ground and replenish groundwater aquifers. Some of it will evaporate, condense into clouds and fall out of the sky as precipitation somewhere else in the world. However, a portion of this water will start an amazing journey, snaking through hundreds of miles of rivers and creeks, filling ponds and reservoirs along the way. Eventually, a portion of this spring runoff will end up right here in Nebraska, replenishing NPPD’s very own canals and reservoirs.
However, a portion of this water will start an amazing journey, snaking through hundreds of miles of rivers and creeks, filling ponds and reservoirs along the way.
Now, you may be wondering, “Why does NPPD care about the spring runoff?” It’s simple — this water plays an essential role in helping us meet the needs of our customers.
Today, NPPD is responsible for operating and maintaining nearly 150 miles of canal, 6 dams, and 3 hydroelectric plants. These water systems allow NPPD to proudly deliver irrigation water to nearly 30,000 acres of farmland. Without this additional water, those tiny seeds of corn area farmers will plant in the next few weeks would have a hard time thriving in Nebraska’s semi-arid climate. This same water also creates hydroelectric power and provides cooling water to Gerald Gentleman Station, both of which are an essential part of our diverse power generation mix. Finally, this water allows us to offer recreational opportunities to Nebraskans. You know — boating, fishing, camping, golfing, bird watching — activities that are just plain fun!
So this spring, as that snowmelt makes its way toward Nebraska, take a second to appreciate the continuous movement of water. It really is an amazing cycle that benefits all, including our valued NPPD customers.