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Flow Meter Program

Flow MeterFlow meters are required for all wells in the district pumping more than 50 gallons per minute. Flow meter installation within the South Platte NRD was done in phases, beginning in 2004 and was completed on all irrigation wells in March of 2009.

Flow meters are a valuable tool for providing producers with information about the total amount of irrigation water being applied. The data collected also helps the NRD determine the amount of water being withdrawn from various aquifers across the district and provide information useful to future groundwater modeling efforts.  The information may also help make future management decisions such as groundwater allocations or other options.

Flow meters can only be installed by contractors approved by the SPNRD Board of Directors. These contractors have the knowledge to properly install your meter and are familiar with the District's rules and regulations. There are currently five meters approved for use in the District; McCrometer, Sparling, Seametrics, GrowSmart and Valley 3000.

Busted Flow Meter
This pictures shows what happens to a register without a canopy boot. Regular inspection and maintenance could have prevented costly repairs or replacement with this meter.

Flow Meter Maintenance and Replacement Cost-Share Program:

Rule 17.c.4 in the Districtwide Ground Water Management Area Rules and Regulations requires each ground water user, landowner or operator of a water well or wells to ensure that each flow meter installed on such well or wells are fully functional, properly maintained and in good working condition.

To help defray the costs involved, the South Platte NRD offers costs share for routine maintenance to landowners/operators at $30 per meter once every three years to be completed by a certified flow meter maintenance contractor. For repairs, the District provides cost-share as well, covering 50% of the repair cost, up to $150.00 in a three-year period.

Replacement flow meter cost-share is available for meters meeting certain requirements, with no one meter location receiving SPNRD replacement cost-share more than once every ten years. To qualify for flow meter replacement cost-share, the flow meter will have to meet certain requirements such as: the existing flow meter can no longer be covered under the manufacturer’s warranty; has become inoperable twice in the previous three years and/or the repairs are equal to or greater than 50% of the cost of a new flow meter; and the replacement meter must be replaced with the SPNRD board-approved mechanical flow meter with the lowest failure rate. The replacement cost-share amounts are based on a maximum amount of 50% of the county average value, based on NRCS guidelines. Figures are reviewed annually and replacement cost-share amounts follow those guidelines.

For more information about flow meter maintenance or replacement, contact Tyler Sanders.

Flow Meters as a Tool: Savings Today, Conservation for Tomorrow

With rising input costs and uncertain markets, eliminating guesswork is a top priority for irrigators.  The “art” of producing high-yielding irrigated crops has been replaced by the need for a “scientific” approach.  Knowing the exact amount of irrigation water applied to a crop through its growing season can aid the producer in making money-saving management decisions. 

Flow meters accurately record the amount of water pumped from a well or through an irrigation system.  This information can be used to check efficiency, and can serve as a watchdog device by detecting well and pump problems.

The acre inch configuration, required for meters installed in the South Platte NRD, allows an irrigator to accurately gauge the total amount of water applied to a crop during the season.  When the question “Should I water one more time?” comes up, the answer can be decided by a calculation rather than a guess.  For example, corn requires approximately 25.5 inches of water before reaching maturity.  Knowing the water requirements for a crop from a growth stage to maturity will enable you to determine an irrigation rate to most efficiently achieve profitable yields and avoid costly over-watering.