On July 16, 2004, the Department of Natural Resources made a preliminary determination designating the entire South Platte NRD as fully appropriated. On September 25, 2004, the Department issued an order designating the South Platte River Basin including Lodgepole Creek as overappropriated. Click map at left to see the OA area.
Other areas of the state designated as overappropriated include the Platte River Basin above the Kearney Canal Diversion and the North Platte River Basin including Pumpkinseed Creek. Click map at right to see the state OA area.
The fully and overappropriated designations meant an immediate moratorium on new groundwater wells and surface water permits. Also, producers within those areas could not expand irrigated acreage.
Under requirements of the Nebraska Ground Water Management andProtection Act (LB962), the state’s natural resources districts with areas designated as fully- or overappropriated are required to work with NDNR develop integrated management plans to manage the state’s ground water and surface water resources.
On June 20, 2008 South Platte NRD chairman Keith Rexroth and Nebraska Department of Natural Resources acting director Brian Dunnigan (appointed Director in late 2008) exchanged letters of agreement approving the District’s Integrated Management Plan (IMP). The IMP became effective on July 20, 2008.
As stated in the IMP, its goal is: to work together for the greater good of all the citizens of the South Platte Natural Resources District to cooperatively develop and implement a local Integrated Surface Water/Ground Water Plan that has an acceptable degree of certainty of 1) maintaining a sufficient water supply for use by present and future generations, 2) maintaining and protecting the region's agricultural economy and the viability of cities and villages and 3) promoting the growth of economic activities while seeking to avoid adverse impacts on the environment.
To attain the IMP's goal, objectives are to:
1. Conduct data collection and analysis, including: 1) information on current water uses, 2) availability of the water resources in the region, 3) determination of the level of sustainable use, and 4) develop/utilize appropriate scientific and technical tools to guide decision making.
2. Provide education to explain why the District is developing the IMP and how it will help to sustain the water supplies of the region.
3. Encourage the use of practices that conserve water in the region's aquifers.
4. Work with adjacent states and NRDs to minimize the adverse impacts of water uses in those areas on the SPNRD and to minimize the impacts from water uses within the SPNRD on other NRDs.
5. Streamline and make permit application processes more uniform and predictable.
6. Provide information and assistance for the transfer of water uses among counties, cities, villages and producers within the State.
In doing so, the IMP must recognize that it took a long time for the current conditions to develop and a long time may be required before the implemented plan can be successful. If successful, it is expected that the implementation of the IMP will maintain the ability of local groups to develop and manage the water resources on which their quality of life depends.
Another requirement of the Nebraska Ground Water Management and Protection Act is that natural resources districts within fully- or overappropriated areas are required to work with NDNR to develop basin-wide integrated management plans.
The South Platte NRD and four other Platte River basin NRDs worked with NDNR to develop the Basin-Wide Plan for Joint Integrated Water Resources Management of Overappropriated Portions of the Platte River Basin, Nebraska. It covers portions of the Platte River Basin upstream of the Kearney Canal Diversion designated as overappropriated by the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on September 15, 2004. This defined in DNR’s Order also defines the area in which ground water is hydrologically connected to the overappropriated surface water basin.
Basin-wide Plan goals include: Incrementally achieving and sustaining a fully appropriated condition; Prevent reductions in the flow of a river or stream that would cause noncompliance with an interstate compact or decree or other formal state contract or agreement; and working cooperatively to identify and investigate disputes between ground water users and surface water appropriators and, if determined appropriate, implementing management solutions to address such issues.
The Basin-wide Plan went into effect on September 11, 2009
For more information and maps showing more about integrated management, go to the DNR web site.