Spring 2021 Well Measuring Results

Well Diagraim
June 28, 2021

The static water levels of 33 irrigation wells located throughout the Lewis and Clark Natural Resources District (LCNRD) are measured in the spring and fall each year. Groundwater levels measured this spring indicate that the levels have decreased on an overall comparison by 2.1 feet from the spring 2020 with 31 wells showing a decrease. 


Water levels from the spring of 2021 compared to the spring of 2012 continued to show increases in 16 of the 21 wells developed in sand and gravel aquifers of the district while all of the wells developed in the Niobrara Formation and Missouri River Alluvium Formation wells showed decreases from levels recorded in the spring of 2012. Average water levels for 2021, considering all wells measured, have decreased 0.5 feet from 2012.


In recent years there has been development for irrigation in the much deeper buried Dakota Formation aquifer. The majority of this development has occurred north of Hartington from Crofton to Martinsburg. The NRD initiated spring and fall static water level measurements of 4 wells in this area in 2015 to better monitor the aquifer’s response to irrigation pumping. To date a decline of 3.3 feet below the initial spring average reading from 2015 has been observed.


Groundwater levels of irrigation wells are monitored and recorded by the LCNRD to monitor potential fluctuations in water levels. A downward trend observed over a period of 5 years or a significant decline over 2 years would be considered cause for concern. Increased irrigation demand and decreased recharge from rainfall has the potential to significantly impact groundwater levels.  If the lack of rainfall continues and the need for irrigation continues to be high the potential for continued groundwater decline is high.  Employing wise irrigation practices is important to maximizing crop yields and ensuring desirable groundwater levels.


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