Drought sparks irrigation permit increaseAs of Monday, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources had issued 113 irrigation permits and 91 applications were pending, agency spokesman Kim Smith said.
PIERRE (AP) — The number of irrigation permits being issued in South Dakota this year is at a level not seen since the mid-1970s, and drought is a common factor.
As of Monday, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources had issued 113 irrigation permits and 91 applications were pending, agency spokesman Kim Smith said.
That compared with 62 permits issued last year and 43 in 2010.
“We’ve got a stack of groundwater irrigation applications about a foot high,” agency engineer Lynn Beck said at a Monday meeting in Pierre of the Governor’s Drought Task Force. “Everyone is covering the bases. I’m sure the drought has a lot to do with it.”
The U.S. Drought Monitor map shows all of South Dakota in some form of drought, with more than half of the state in the two worst categories, extreme and exceptional.
All but the very northeast tip of South Dakota is in with a group of other Plains and Western states where the drought is expected to intensify at least through next February, according to State Climatologist Dennis Todey.
Drought also hit in 1976 and 1977.
South Dakota issued more than 500 irrigation permits in each of those years.