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"Conservation is the 'Nature' of Our Business"


In 1975 the first version of the Nebraska Ground Water Management Act became law. Under this act, NRDs were given the authority to adopt regulations intended to conserve groundwater quantity. These include runoff controls, wider well spacing, metering, and allocation.   The Groundwater Management Act has been amended several times over the years.  In the 1980s water quality authority was added.  These additions gave the NRD’s authority to regulate activities that cause or contribute to non-point groundwater contamination. 


Most recently amendments to the act in 2004 added provisions for the NRDs and Department of Natural Resources (formerly the Department of Water Resources) to jointly regulate groundwater and surface water users when it is determined that these water uses are causing long term shortages.  The term used for this is “fully appropriated”.


The Upper Big Blue NRD was the second NRD in the state to adopt regulations to manage groundwater quantity.  The first regulations went into effect March 1, 1979. Water quality regulations were added in 1995.  The latest revisions to the NRDs Ground Water Management Area regulations went into effect on March 1, 2004.  This set of regulations is referred to as District Rule 5. Rule 5 includes quantity and quality regulations, but does not include regulations for fully appropriated areas.  A small area in western Hamilton County was determined to be fully appropriated in association with the Platte River.  Regulation regarding this area will be developed for the next 2 or 3 years.





     ZONES 5 & 6

     Nitrate Monitoring

    Center Pivot with rainbow Northeast of Clay Center, Nebraska.   Russ Gierhart, Upper Big Blue NRD Water Resources Technician, takes a nitrate sample from an gravity irrigation system west of York, Nebraska.   Russ Gierhart taking a water sampling west of York, Nebraska.



 CLICK on the above graph to access more detailed Average Ground Water Level Data plus District Map












Ground Water:  Quantity & Quality

Upper Big Blue NRD     105 N. Lincoln Avenue         York, NE  68467     ♦   (402) 362-6601

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