Information Services - July 2012 Press Releases
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, July 3, 2012
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Garland Erbele, (605) 773-3352
PIERRE, S.D. – Drought conditions in western South Dakota have forced the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to issue shutoff orders to all water-right holders along the Battle Creek near Hermosa.
State water law authorizes DENR and the Water Management Board to issue water-right permits to people who want to put water to beneficial use, such as irrigation, municipal water supply, or commercial use.
South Dakota water law, which is based on the prior appropriation doctrine, gives domestic use of water from rivers and streams the highest priority. This means the most senior water rights, including domestic uses, have priority to available water supplies on a particular stream over the junior water rights based upon the priority date. Domestic use includes livestock watering.
“Over the weekend, flows in Battle Creek dropped below the 1.5 cubic feet per second target level at the USGS stream gage below Hermosa,” said DENR Secretary Steve Pirner. “State water law ensures that the domestic use of water, which includes stock watering, will be protected over all other uses of water. In this case, we are protecting the domestic use rights by shutting off other demands for water.”
“Western South Dakota is experiencing much drier conditions than it has in several years,” said Garland Erbele, chief engineer of the DENR Water Rights Program. “Current conditions indicate below-normal spring precipitation and high temperatures are having detrimental effects on stream flows throughout western South Dakota. Without appreciable amounts of rain, water availability in the state’s surface waters may reach critically low levels. At some point, additional shutoff orders may be issued for other rivers and streams and remain in effect until surface water flows recover.”
For more information about river flows in South Dakota, visit sd.water.usgs.gov and click on “Real-Time Water Data.” Information and a copy of the shutoff order can also be obtained by calling DENR’s Water Right Program at 1-800-GET-DENR or visiting denr.sd.gov/des/wr.
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