Quantity Rules & Regulations - Water Development Areas

There are three major types of Water Development Areas in the Lower Platte North NRD:

In addition, there are two Special Quantity Subareas in Butler/Saunders and Platte/Colfax counties. No new or expanded irrigated acres are allowed in these areas, and several other restrictions apply.

Variances are required for any new irrigated acres within the NRD. Before a well permit can be issued, you must have a variance from the NRD. Get more info on Variance Requests here.

The entire district is considered a "Level One" area, and all operators of irrigation, municipal, and industrial wells are required to be certified every four years.

Irrigation Development Areas

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Non-Hydrologically Connected Areas

In the NRD's Non-Hydrologically Connected Areas (NHCAs), up to 1,000 new irrigated acres can be developed in a one-year period. Variance requests must be received in our office by August 15th of each year to be considered for the following year’s irrigation season. These Variance requests will be reviewed, given a ranking score, and a limited number of applications may be approved at the following September Board Meeting. Please wait to hear from the NRD before you buy any equipment, drill a well, etc.

Hydrologically Connected Areas

The NRD's Hydrologically Connected Areas (HCAs) cover most of the Shell Creek, Platte Valley and Todd Valley aquifer regions. These areas were placed under a state-imposed moratorium in December 2008 when the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources preliminarily declared the Lower Platte Basin to be "fully-appropriated." The state later reversed that preliminary declaration and the moratorium areas were opened back up to limited irrigation development.

Up to a total of 2,500 acres a year can be developed in HCAs. Variance requests must be received in our office by September 15th of each year to be considered for the following year’s irrigation season. These Variance requests will be reviewed, given a ranking score, and a limited number of applications may be approved at the following October Board Meeting. Please wait to hear from the NRD before you buy any equipment, drill a well, etc.

Restricted Development Areas

The NRD's Restricted Development Areas encompass portions of the uplands region in Butler, Dodge and Saunders counties. Aquifers in these areas are thin or of limited size, therefore this type of development area is treated differently from the other two.

Offsets are required, so if a landowner wishes to expand their water use at one location, then a similar amount of water use or acres must be retired within the same subarea. In this case the offset will be treated as a water transfer.

Variance requests (with no offsets required) will be accepted for expanded irrigation if the field is within one mile of the border of the Restricted Development Area. Acre-inch allocations can be established and in a worst-case scenario, the well permit could be withdrawn and further water use prohibited.

If the Variance request is for a new well, then:

The deadline to submit applications can vary depending on the type of adjacent Development Area, but in most cases it would be best for the landowner to assume the deadline is August 15th so the application will be received on time at the NRD.

Variance requests from the RDA will be reviewed with other applications from the adjacent Areas, given a ranking score, and a limited number of applications may be approved at the following September or October Board Meeting for the following year’s irrigation season. Please wait to hear from the LPNNRD before you buy any equipment, drill a well, etc.

In the Restricted Development Area, Variances are also required on small capacity wells except for a domestic well irrigating less than 1 acre of land or a well used to water range livestock.

Special Quantity Subareas

There are two Special Quantity Subareas in the NRD, in Butler/Saunders and Platte/Colfax counties. The Butler/Saunders area covers approximately 56 square miles of east-central Butler County and 30 square miles of west-central Saunders County. The Platte/Colfax area covers approximately 100 square miles of central Platte County and 32 square miles of west-central Colfax County.

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Get a more detailed, printable PDF map:

Download


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Get a more detailed, printable PDF map:

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In these areas, groundwater levels can be highly volatile and heavily influenced by drought and groundwater pumping.

Several requirements apply in the SQSs:

Restrictions on pumping during certain times of the day or the establishment of a system of rotation for pumping could also apply in the SQSs.

More Information

For more information concerning ground water quantity management, also review Groundwater Quantity Rules and Regulations – Level Management Areas.

The full text of the NRD's GWMA Rules and Regulations is available as a PDF in our Downloads section.

For more information on the NRD's Water Development Areas, contact Larry Angle, Water Resources Manager.

Contact Us

Lower Platte North NRD
PO Box 126
Wahoo, NE 68066
402.443.4675
toll-free 1.888.764.0543
Fax 402.443.5339
lpnnrd@lpnnrd.org

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