NORFOLK, Neb. -- Farmers in the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District will have new options for watering their fields.

Thursday saw the LENRD take on the divisive task of determining regulations for new irrigation in their region. 

Directors make the decision every year based on a plethora of data including soil score, geographical location, how much water should be used and more. 

Opinions were varied with board members on the night.

Some directors were looking to expand it's allowed irrigation, such as Jim Aschoff who argued the entire region should be opened.

Aschoff said doing so would make it fair to taxpayers as everyone would receive the same benefits.

"Your discriminating a little bit," Aschoff said. "We both pay the same taxes, but you get irrigation and I don't or vice versa."

Aschoff also made a motion to throw out all variances except management subareas in the district later in the meeting. However this motion failed when put to a vote. 

On the complete opposite side of views, Director Melissa Temple was a more conservative voice Thursday. Temple argued multiple times during the meeting to be cautious when expanding.

"The more we irrigate the more nitrates that leech and the more nitrogen is put on," Temple said. "I think that's just going to do more and more harm to the groundwater and increase nitrates, which is a public health risk." 

Under the decision last night, areas that can apply for a well are in the white areas of the map. Red areas cannot qualify for a new irrigation well.

An Ad Hoc committee from the LENRD recommended a 33-acre inch variance over 3 years for new wells. However, after discussions the board passed an annual allocation of 14 inches a year.

This passed on a 11-4 vote, with Jay Reikofski, Anthony Wisnieski, Rod Zohner, Jerry Alleman, Jim Aschoff, Scott Clausen, Mike Fleer, Mark Hall, Chad Korth, Kris Loberg and Roger Gustafson, voting in favor. 

Directors Gary Loftis, Matt Steffen, Melissa Temple, and Mark Burenheide, voted against.

To see if your area qualifies for an irrigation, you can contact the LENRD.