Water Resources

It is the policy of the Middle Republican NRD to carry out programs that encourage efficient water use and protect the quality of ground water. Preserving an adequate supply of clean, high quality  groundwater to help sustain the area's economy and provide for future needs is the primary purpose of the current plan.

Along these lines, in 1998 a district-wide Ground Water Management Area (GWMA) for water quantity was established. Previous studies have indicated that when 3,000 or more irrigation wells are drilled in the NRD, the capacity to withdraw more ground water than can be recharged definitely exists. By 2002, over 3,300 wells had been drilled in the district. Also, the current legal battle between Kansas and Nebraska has caused a need for NRD's to more accurately document the amount of water that is actually pumped from our groundwater supply.

To address this concern, the MRNRD:

  • Established a flow meter program
  • Required well permits
  • Adopted new well spacing requirements
  • Placed a suspension on the drilling of new wells pumping more than 50 gallons per minutes
  • Established an allocation of 39" over a three year allocation period
  • Adopted an Integrated Management Plan in cooperation with the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources
  • Established a Acre Retirement Program

In 1992, the NRD established a 450 sq. mile Special Protection Area in the southern part of the district for ground water quality. The purpose of this area, now known as the Ground Water Quality Management Area (GWQMA), has been to reduce nitrate contamination in our groundwater. Today this GWQMA is still an important part of our operations and nitrate levels have shown a significant decline.