Water Quantity

Quantity Rules and Regulations

The Lewis and Clark NRD Board of Directors adopted rules and regulations and an appendix to the existing Groundwater management plan in order to better protect groundwater quantity across the LCNRD.


Increased irrigation development, potential for groundwater use, and drought risk prompted development of the rules and regulations to monitor, enhance, and protect the groundwater resource. The rules became effective August 1, 2014.


Some changes required by adoption of the rules include:

  • Well permits for new and replacement wells pumping greater than 50 gallons a minute.
  • Expanding irrigation to previously non-irrigated acres requires a permit.
  • Flow meters and annual groundwater use reports are required on all new high capacity wells.
  • Best Management Practices (BMP’s) are encouraged to conserve and protect groundwater resources.
  • Triggers are established which would bring about additional regulation in the case of prolonged groundwater declines.
  • Other requirements are detailed in the Rules and Regulations. Contact LCNRD with questions.   


Review the complete Groundwater Quantity Rules and Regulations for LCNRD.

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING:  Pursuant to and under the authority of the Nebraska Ground Water Management and Protection

Act, NEB. REV. STAT. §46-701 et seq. (Reissue 2010), the Lewis and Clark Natural Resources District will be conducting a public hearing for the purpose of taking written and/or oral testimony on the restatement of Rules and Regulations for the Lewis and Clark Natural Resources District relating to or concerning the regulation, administration and control of ground water in the district, which rules and regulations were initially adopted in January 1986, amended in July 1993, October 2004, August 2014 and April 2015.  2020 Public Hearing Notice - GW Rules and Regs Amended.pdf

Review the Proposed changes to the Groundwater Quantity Rules and Regulations (changes are red lined for comparison purposes)  by following this link  2020 Final Quantity Rules and Regulations Tracked Changes with Appendices

Review the Proposed changes to the Groundwater Quantity Rules and Regulation (with changes incorporated)  by  following this link:  2020 Final Groundwater Quantity Rules and Regulations with appendices


Review the appendix to the LCNRD Groundwater Rules and Regulations.

Integrated Management Plan (IMP)

On July 28, 2016 the Lewis & Clark Natural Resources District (LCNRD) Board of Directors approved adoption of an Integrated Water Management Plan (IMP) developed to protect groundwater and surface water quantity for the parts of Dixon, Cedar and Knox Counties in the LCNRD. The IMP is available for on-line viewing or at the office of the LCNRD in Hartington.


The overarching purpose of this IMP is to provide a framework for joint management of groundwater and surface water resources to ensure the long term availability of both resources, so that existing users are protected.

In 2019, the first IMP biennial update from the LCNRD  and the NeDNR  was completed. Refer to NeDNR for more information about integrated management planning. Copies are also available at the LCNRD office in Hartington. 

NeDNR Surface Water Permitting Activities 2017-2018 Expansion Acres

Water Levels

Spring 2017 Well Measuring Results

The purpose of the well monitoring by the Lewis and Clark NRD is to record the groundwater levels and their fluctuations in wells throughout the district. The LCNRD monitors trends in water level data in order to be prepared in times of sustained decline.


Each year a total of 30 irrigation wells are measured semi-annually at selected locations across the LCNRD.


The static water levels of 30 irrigation wells located throughout the Lewis & Clark Natural Resources District are measured in the spring and fall each year. Groundwater levels measured this spring indicate that the levels have been increasing in about half of the wells monitored each year since experiencing the drought of 2012.   The spring 2017 average groundwater readings were 2.4 feet higher than the average spring readings from 2016 and the average is near the average water levels from the spring of 2012. Of the 31 wells measured, 14 showed higher groundwater levels than in the spring of 2017. Sixteen of the measured wells were on average 1.02 feet lower the spring of 2016.

2020 Spring Well Measurements

Well Permits & Expanded Irrigated Acre Permits


The LCNRD requires all new irrigation wells that pump 50 gallons or more a minute to go through a permitting process as of August 1st, 2014.


Well Permits are required on all new irrigation wells except for:

  • Test holes or dewatering wells (used 90 days or less)
  • Wells pumping 50 gpm or less
  • New Permit fee is $50—Late filing fee is $250 (both are non-refundable)

Expanding Irrigated Permit

  • Required anytime applying irrigation water to acres that have not been previously irrigated.
  • Expansion Permit fee is $50—Late filing fee is $250 (both are non-refundable)

Flow Meter Cost-Share

A flow meter must be installed on all new wells pumping >50gpm. Cost-share is available through the NRCS or the LCNRD for flow meters. Flow meters will assist the LCNRD effectively monitor groundwater use in the LCNRD.

  • Cost-sharing is available through the LCNRD if it is newly irrigated acres and cost-sharing is available through NRCS if there is irrigated history on the acres. Applications can be filled out either at the NRD or the NRCS offices.


Center Pivot over corn


Groundwater Management Plan (GWMP)

To guide groundwater management, the LCNRD adopted a Groundwater Management Plan (the Plan) in 1986. The Plan was updated in 1995 and amended in 2014. The Plan provides the basis for groundwater management in the LCNRD.


If you would like to review the Groundwater Management Plans and updates they are available here.

Irrigation Pivot

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