Little Rock Creek and Bonanza Valley Area Irrigators Volunteers Needed

Press release from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (March 25, 2021)

In 1991, a well driller field tested a new irrigation well and pump at 500 gallons per minute….

A lot can change in 30 years, making it hard to know how much water the system is actually pumping.

Over the last two years, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) worked with irrigators in Little Rock Creek and found that more often than not pumps are not producing as much water as they were initially. The result was that on average irrigators were reporting more water than was actually used. The DNR aims to help irrigators better understand their water use and improve water volume estimates to support their business and agronomic decisions.

What is DNR offering?

The MN DNR is offering to a limited number of agricultural irrigators in certain geographic areas an opportunity to place temporary water flow meters onto their irrigation systems’ pipe.

Do I qualify?

You may qualify for the DNR’s Irrigation Flow Meter Study – Phase 2 if you operate center pivot irrigation systems in the Bonanza Valley Groundwater Management Area (link) or the Little Rock Creek Area (link) (see maps below).

What are the details?

If you are selected, the DNR will attach on their irrigation system a “clamp on” water flow meter for up to five months during the 2021 irrigation season. This is a service and has no cost to the volunteer irrigators. The DNR will measure systems water use, pumping rate, and pumping time using hydro-acoustic technology. All equipment will be installed and removed by the DNR. Participants will be asked to describe how they normally record and calculate water use volumes. The results of the measured water use volume will be compared to the irrigators’ estimated water use volume over the same period of time in a double blind study.

How do I volunteer?

Send an email to Steve Labuz ( if you are interested. A next best option is to call Steve at (651) 539 – 2114.

When are the deadlines?

The first round of meter placements will be in spring of 2021 and if there is high demand, those same meters could be moved to other irrigation systems in mid-summer.

Springtime placement:

To determine eligibility for possible springtime placement, contact the DNR by April 16, 2021.

Mid-summer placement:

If you are interested at any time this summer should contact the DNR by June 15, 2021 to determine eligibility.

To learn more, visit: