Construction of the canal system began August 21, 1934 with the first generation of electricity occurring on March 5, 1937. The hydroelectric system begins five miles southwest of Genoa along Highway 22 at the Headworks diversion structure. Water from the Loup River is diverted into the Districtís man-made canal which flows through the Monroe facility. The water continues itís eastwardly flow until it reaches the two 1,100 acre regulating reservoirs north of Columbus known as Lake Babcock and Lake North. These reservoirs provide storage for generation at the Columbus Powerhouse and recreation for the public. After generating power, the water re-enters the canal, known as the Tailrace section and flows south into the Platte River. The Columbus Powerhouse, one of the largest water-powered generating plants in Nebraska, has three turbo-generators with a total nameplate rating of 45,600 kilowatts. The Monroe Powerhouse has three turbo-generators with a total nameplate rating of 7,800 kilowatts. These powerhouses operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. These two facilities generate in excess of 150.0 million kilowatt hours annually.
In 2007, the District completed a major rehabilitation of the Columbus and Monroe generating facilities. We invested in excess of 17 million dollars in these facilities in order to improve the efficiency and reliability of the units which had seen a decline in these areas due to the cumulative effects of age. The results of the rehabilitation were evident by an increase in energy output in excess of ten percent per year from 2007 through 2009. By 2009 the Monroe Powerhouse has generated more than 1.9 million megawatt hours, while the Columbus Powerhouse surpassed 7.7 million megawatt hours.
In addition to the generation facilities, the District maintains five parks in its four-county area which are open to the public at no charge. These parks provide many recreational opportunities that would otherwise not be available in this area.