HOLDREGE — Seepage issues near Elwood Reservoir’s Carl T. Curtis Pump Station will be investigated by a Colorado engineering firm.

RJH Consultants Inc. of Meridian, Colo., was selected Monday by the Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District board to do a study that will include analyzing soil conditions, conducting pump and seepage tests, installing monitoring wells, surveying the area involved and determining costs of potential construction or operational solutions.

According to a press release, CNPPID Hydraulic Operations Manager Cory Steinke said that while the seepage diminished after Central reduced the volume of water in the reservoir, the project will ensure the continued safe operation of the facility.

The study cost could be up to $148,200 during a 22-week period.

In related action, the board approved a budget amendment of $270,000 that includes funds for repairs, if the study determines such action is needed.

Also during Monday’s videoconference meeting, CNPPID civil engineer Tyler Thulin reported that Lake McConaughy is at elevation 3,257.9 feet above sea level, or 88 percent of capacity.

Recent lake inflows of around 3,700 cubic feet per second compare to releases of approximately 1,900 cfs. Thulin said releases of 500 cfs from the Environmental Account for downstream habitat benefits were suspended temporarily because of rainfall in the area, but are expected to resume this week.

Snowpacks in the North Platte and South Platte basins are near average with rapid snowmelt beginning, he added.

In other business, the board:

- Accepted $291,249 in bids from Husker Steel of Columbus for materials CNPPID employees will use to replace the Supply Canal bridge east of Jeffrey Reservoir.

- Accepted a $247,900 bid for a new 2020 Caterpillar long-reach excavator from Nebraska Machinery Co. of North Platte.

- Was told by Government and Public Relations Manager Jeff Buettner that the June 21-25 Water & Natural Resources Tour planned with the Nebraska Water Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has been canceled due to COVID-19 safety concerns.

- Approved water service agreements with the Tri-Basin Natural Resource District and state Department of Natural Resources for groundwater recharge at Waterfowl Production Areas, E-65 and Phelps canals, and Elwood Reservoir.

- Was told by Irrigation Operations Manager Dave Ford that most spring 2020 readings from CNPPID’s network of groundwater observation wells showed an increase from spring 2019. During the past 10 years, monitoring wells in the western part of the irrigated area generally show groundwater increases and areas on the Phelps Canal in the east generally show decreases.