Groundwater Appreciation Week!

Groundwater Appreciation Week!

Did you know that March 6 – 12 is Groundwater Appreciation Week? 50 years ago, when the Natural Resources Districts were formed one of the things they were tasked with was the development, management, utilization, and conservation of groundwater and surface water. Today these efforts are managed collectively and keep the district very busy!

The Nemaha NRD monitors groundwater quality on numerous wells throughout the district. Water is tested for nitrates and other contaminants. The NRD is keeping a close eye on an area around Humboldt where nitrate levels in groundwater historically tested higher than the EPA’s recommendations for safe drinking water. Also known as a “Phase II Area” this region has been working to reduce nitrate levels in their wells.

Groundwater levels are monitored biannually (spring & fall) on 119 wells throughout the district. Of the 119 wells, 79 of them have greater than ten years of data. Groundwater levels fluctuate from year to year. Some of the years with precipitation extremes, the district has seen groundwater levels rise or decline up to 3.5 feet! Overall, the average level of groundwater across the district has remained relatively consistent.

Since 2013, the district has required flowmeters on all new or reconstructed high-capacity (pump over 50 gallons per minute) wells. At the end of each growing season the flowmeters are read, converted to inches of water applied, and recorded so the district knows how much irrigation water was used per field. In 2021 producers applied an average of 3.85 inches (Represents sprinkler and flood irrigation).

The district staff spend time in winter on chemigation training programs, compiling data collected throughout the growing season, and developing reports for state and federal partner agencies.

Throughout the year, permits for new or redeveloped high-capacity wells are evaluated by the NRD’s water manager. Factors like geologic characteristics and proximity to other registered wells are considered. If a well permit passes the evaluation phase it moves to final approval by a vote of the Board of Directors.

Any well pumping less than 50 gallons per minute is considered a domestic/livestock well. These wells are required to be registered since September 1993. If your well is older than that and you would like it to be registered contact Department of Natural Resources. The NRD can also assist landowners in completing the well registration form upon request. There is a $70 fee for registering wells that pump under 50 gallons per minute. If your well is not registered the Nemaha NRD can’t factor its proximity on high-capacity irrigation well applications.

Please visit for more information or call the office at (402)335-3325 for any questions!