One Time Opportunity To Submit Requests For Permanent Water Right Acres
March 9, 2022 | View PDF
The Lower Yellowstone Irrigation Project is offering a one-time opportunity to landowners to submit a written request for the possibility to irrigate new irrigable acres located within the existing boundaries of Lower Yellowstone Irrigation District #1 And #2. If approved these acres would become permanently taxed and part of a permanent water right.
“This gives progressive irrigators the chance to irrigate a field that they have always wanted to irrigate and were not able to before,” explained LYIP Project Manager, James Brower.
New land will need to be classifiable as irrigable and located within the existing boundaries of Lower Yellowstone Irrigation District 1 or 2, Intake Irrigation District and Savage Irrigation District.
If someone wants to irrigate new acres, including west of the main canal, or near to one of LYIP’s canals or laterals), they can apply to make them permanent water right acres.
Brower explained that there is a lot of outside interest trying to stop surplus water contracts. In fact, all surplus water contracts in Savage Irrigation District, Lateral LL, or a Lateral supplied by a pump, have to be converted to permanent water right due to Federal Regulations or be shut off.
“The state and federal government agreed on our water rights, and we have a few hundred extra acres that are not currently being irrigated. There are a lot of political pressures trying to stop surplus water contracts so if you are watering your land with a surplus water contract, you can totally come to us and get that converted to a permanent water right.”
Landowners who get their land converted to permanent water rights will have to pay water taxes.
Permanent water rights are important for farmers during times of water rationing. In times where water is rationed, surplus water contract acres are the first to be shut off, so if landowners/irrigators convert cropland to permanently taxed acres, their water won’t be shut off during times of normal water rationing. In cases of extreme water rationing junior water rights could be temporarily shut off.
Requests need to be submitted to LYIP no later than March 25; not all requests will be granted. Priority will be considered as follows: (1) existing surplus water contracts and secondary water rights that landowners want to become permanently taxed irrigable acres, (2) conversions of existing flood irrigation acres to highest efficiency methods, (3) new acres with new high efficiency irrigation methods designed by professional irrigation designers, (4) date request is received (first come, first served). Written requests must be received in person at the LYIP office located in Sidney.
Brower added, “This is really important to consider because this is something that will not be offered again in the future - it is a one-time opportunity for the first time in several decades.”