Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Stories: Sutherland Project


Interesting tidbit in the "Behind the Outlet" insert from Nebraska Public Power District in the North Platte Telegraph recently:

One of the state's oldest reservoir and canal projects is the Sutherland Project. Constructed by Platte Valley Public Power District between 1934 and 1939, the project was built as part of the New Deal program to end the Great Depression.
This home was moved multiple times and is now the home
of my sister and her family, which is a story for another post.
At the time of its construction, the 63.5-mile Sutherland Project along the Platte River was the world's second-largest excavation project, next to the Panama Canal.
This barn is now located in North Platte at the
University of Nebraska West Central Research and Extension Center, or the "state farm."
The system provides supplemental storage water to six canals from Lexington to Kearney for irrigation, and reuses the water for hydro generation, a renewable, environmentally friendly source for electrical energy. Collectively, the project stores 84,000 acre-feet of water in the Sutherland and Lake Maloney Reservoirs.

In the 1970s and 80s, NPPD built the state-s largest fossil-fueled power plant to meet the growing energy needs of its Nebraska customers. This important resource - the Gerald Gentleman Station - is located along the Sutherland Project, which provides water for the plant's cooling. Seepage from the canals and reservoirs also provides recharge and storage in the groundwater aquifers below the project.

Very little of the water used to produce electricity at GGS comes from the aquifer or groundwater. In fact, nearly all of the water is returned to the Platte River for re-use and less than one percent of the water passing through the plant's once-through cooling system is lost through evaporation.

Today, NPPD continues to manage and maintain a series of diversion dams, lakes and canals along the Platte River. The system's riverine and lake-side properties provide wildlife habitat for a variety of fish, birds and animals, and offer recreational outlets for fishermen, boaters, campers and hunters.

The partnerships between the Nebraska Public Power District, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the Sutherland Reservoir Park Board which maintains the Oregon Trail Golf Course give us great recreational assets. Besides the golf and water sports, NPPD generously gave land for an ATV course.

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