Water Quantity

Quantity Rules and Regulations


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.


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 2023 Well Measuring Results

The purpose of the well monitoring by the Lewis and Clark Natural Resources District 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.

The static water levels of 34 irrigation wells located throughout the Lewis & Clark Natural Resources District are measured in the spring and fall each year. The 2023 spring water levels, although lower than recent years, remain above the recorded lowest spring levels prior to the drought conditions of 2012. The average water levels for the spring of 2023, considering all wells measured, are 0.4 feet lower than the spring 2013 readings which was the first year after the 2012 drought.

Spring 2023 Well Measuring Results


Well Permits & Expanded Irrigated Acre Permits

The Lewis and Clark Natural Resources District (LCNRD) enacted a 180-day stay of development on high-capacity wells and expansion of irrigated acres effective immediately under the authority of Nebraska Revised Statutes, 46-707 at their regularly scheduled board meeting on November 17, 2022.

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 Acres 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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