Before any reclamation district is established under the Reclamation Act, a petition shall be filed in the office of the department signed by the owners of not less than thirty percent of the acreage of lands to be included in the district, exclusive of land in cities and villages, and each tract or tracts of land and the total acreage shall be listed opposite the name of the signer. A signing petitioner shall not be permitted after the filing of the petition to withdraw his or her name therefrom. No district shall be formed under the act unless the taxable valuation of land, together with improvements thereon, within the proposed district, exclusive of land and improvements thereon in cities and villages, is five million seven hundred twenty thousand dollars or more. The petition shall set forth:
(1) The proposed name of the district;
(2) That property within the proposed district will be benefited by the accomplishment of the purposes enumerated in section 46-515;
(3) A general description of the purpose of the contemplated improvement and of the territory to be included in the proposed district. The description need not be given by metes and bounds or by legal subdivision, but it shall be sufficient to enable a property owner to ascertain whether the property is within the territory proposed to be organized as a district. The territory need not be contiguous if it is so situated that the organization of a single district of the territory described is calculated to promote one or more of the purposes enumerated in section 46-515;
(4) The taxable value of all irrigable land within the boundaries of the proposed district;
(5) A general description of the divisions of the district, the number of directors of the district proposed for each subdivision, and the names and addresses of the proposed members of the board of directors of the district. There shall be not less than five nor more than twenty-one directors named therein who shall serve until their successors are elected and qualified. In the petition the directors named shall be divided as nearly as possible into three equal groups, the members of the first group to hold office until their successors have been elected at the first general state election thereafter and have qualified, the members of the second group to hold office until their successors have been elected at the second general state election thereafter and have qualified, and the members of the third group until the members elected at the third general state election thereafter have qualified. After the name of each director, it shall be stated to which of the three groups he or she belongs; and
(6) A prayer for the organization of the district by the name proposed.
No petition with the requisite signatures shall be declared null and void on account of alleged defects, but the department may at any time permit the petition to be amended to conform to the facts, to correct any errors in the description of the territory, or in any other particular. Similar petitions or duplicate copies of the same petition for the organization of the same district may be filed and shall together be regarded as one petition. All such petitions filed prior to the hearing on the first petition filed shall be considered by the department the same as though filed with the first petition placed on file. In determining whether the requisite number of landowners have signed the petition, the department shall be governed by the names as they appear upon the tax roll which shall be prima facie evidence of such ownership.