Wellhead Protection Program
Wellhead Protection (WHP) Goal:
To protect public drinking water supplies from contamination through local planning and activities.
With approximately 85% of Nebraskans relying on groundwater as their source of drinking water, it is essential to protect this natural resource we all share from contamination. By participating in the Wellhead Protection Program, communities can help safeguard their drinking water supplies now and in the years ahead.
The Wellhead Protection Program is voluntary and takes a proactive approach to groundwater protection. The NRD works closely with area communities, helping to guide them through the steps of the Wellhead Protection Program:
Main Steps of Wellhead Protection
- Delineate a Wellhead Protection Area map for the public wells of a community. A computer program is used to develop this map that takes into account well pumping history, geologic logs from the wells, local hydrogeology of the area, direction of groundwater flow, etc.
- Perform a Contaminant Source Inventory. Within the Wellhead Protection Area, an inventory is conducted of potential contaminant sources or activities that could possibly pollute the public wells.
- Manage Potential Contaminant Sources through ordinances, zoning, education and/or agreements with the county or NRD. Prepare for emergencies with contingency plans. What if the community's water supply falls short of demand due to mechanical problems or contaminated water? Is there a plan in place in case of emergency situations?
- Plan for new wells. A well's lifetime is typically 20 years, and planning for new ones is necessary to address the demands of population growth.
- Keep public educated and involved! Community participation is essential to make the Wellhead Protection process a success. Public participation allows community residents to take pride in protecting their drinking water. After all, it's your water; keep it well!
*The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and the Nebraska Rural Water Association will draw these maps for a community free of charge. Contact the NRD for assistance with obtaining a map.