NRDs Encourage Well Owners to Address Concerns Early

well water
Although groundwater levels have shown an increasing trend, water well use conflicts and water quantity concerns have been more common following the dry conditions of 2012.  There continue to be reports and concerns of domestic wells not having sufficient water during the pumping season, and irrigation wells experiencing reduced pumping volumes, pumping air, or running out of water.  In some situations well issues can be attributed to the age and/or construction of the well and can be remediated by lowering pumps.  In extreme situations, new wells have been constructed if the previous well depth didn’t allow for pump lowering. NRDs Encourage Well Owners to Address Concerns Early
June 30, 2020

NRDs Encourage Well Owners to Address Concerns Early

 

Rainfall has been abundant over the last several years and groundwater supplies have increased across the Lewis & Clark Natural Resources District (LCNRD). Hopefully, sufficient rainfall will continue through 2021, however, if irrigation needs increase, the pressure on groundwater could impact supplies. Dry conditions lead to increased irrigation use, which puts increased pressure on the groundwater resources of the district, and potentially results in decreased groundwater recharge. If that should occur, it is important to keep in mind how pumping may affect other groundwater users. Conservation of water resources is always important and should be a high priority for all.

 

Although groundwater levels have shown an increasing trend, water well use conflicts and water quantity concerns have been more common following the dry conditions of 2012.  There continue to be reports and concerns of domestic wells not having sufficient water during the pumping season, and irrigation wells experiencing reduced pumping volumes, pumping air, or running out of water.  In some situations well issues can be attributed to the age and/or construction of the well and can be remediated by lowering pumps.  In extreme situations, new wells have been constructed if the previous well depth didn’t allow for pump lowering.

 

Although the NRDs are here to help landowners with information, state law does not provide any entity with immediate authority to resolve individual well conflicts. In Nebraska water use priority is designated for domestic uses by law.  That doesn’t mean if your well runs dry you have the right to prevent the use of high capacity wells in your area that may or may not be impacting your well.  Landowners can pursue remediation through the legal system which generally requires a lawsuit between landowners and can take a long time to resolve.  This process works to resolve water use conflicts and legal fees are the responsibility of the well owners.

 

As we move further into summer, dry weather may once again prevail and agriculture producers may require increased irrigation to raise a crop. The Lewis and Clark NRD stresses the importance of communicating with neighbors who will be using high capacity wells and discuss potential solutions if problems should arise rather than waiting until a problem occurs.  Well owners are also encouraged to contact a water well contractor to determine whether domestic wells are operating as efficiently as possible or whether constructing a deeper well may be necessary.

 

The University of Nebraska – Lincoln Extension has a series of NebGuides available to help rural families understand and manage private drinking water systems.  They are available at http://water.unl.edu/drinkingwater or by calling the Lewis and Clark NRD at 402-254-6758.  The guides available include the following:  Private Drinking Water Wells, Planning for Water Use, Water Sources, The Water Well, The Distribution System, Operation and Maintenance for Mechanical Components, Operation and Maintenance for a Safe Well.

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