Water is without a doubt our most precious natural resource. Without it, life does not exist. The UNWNRD Board has established goals to maintain our water quality and quantity.
What is a Ground Water Management Area?
Effective July 1, 1998, the entire Upper Niobrara White Natural Resources District was designated a Groundwater Management Area (GWMA) for information and education purposes. Through detailed research and analysis and the collaborative efforts of several agencies, the UNWNRD is able to monitor the District's ground water levels and quality. At a higher risk for depletion is the area where the most irrigated acres are concentrated due to a combination of factors including farming practices, the natural geology of the aquifer underlying those areas and the depth to ground water at those points. The establishment of the GWMA provides the UNWNRD with the information necessary to determine solutions to water quality and quantity problems in northwestern Nebraska. Through the cooperative efforts of citizens, local businesses, and government agencies we can protect our most precious natural resource.
To enact the GWMA, the UNWNRD devised some basic rules and regulations:
1) Ground Water Quality Study - The UNWNRD must analyze ground water for nitrate-nitrogen in all irrigation wells pumping greater than 50 gallons per minute. Each well will be sampled once every four years. The landowner or operator must allow the sample to be collected and analyzed by District staff using approved methods. Information from the analysis will give the operator knowledge of usable nitrogen already present in the ground water.
2) Well Permits
- Any person intending to construct a water well on land he/she owns, leases, or controls within the District must apply for a permit through the UNWNRD before construction begins. Exemptions include test holes or dewatering wells with an intended use of ninety (90) days or less. Water wells designed and constructed to pump fifty (50) gallons per minute do not require a permit. Most wells for domestic or livestock watering purposes pump less than 50 gallons per minute, and therefore do not require permits.
However, multiple wells individually pumping less than fifty gallons per minute but collectively pumping more than fifty gallons per minute are considered a single well if they are connected together or otherwise serve a single purpose. UNWNRD WELL PERMIT APPLICATION