Some farmers will be paid not to irrigate with water out of Lake McConaughy.
The Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District is experimenting with ways to conserve water in the midst of the state's severe drought.
At a meeting Friday, the district's board of directors voted 10-3 to spend $49,202 to accept 25 payment contracts from surface water irrigators.
District officials said the amount of water is a drop in the bucket compared with total releases, but the pilot project could provide valuable lessons.
Central officials have said they can provide a full water supply this year to their customers, but that might not be true next year if the drought continues.