RAND ISLAND, NE) Luke Zakrzewski, GIS image analyst for the Central Platte Natural Resources District, reported at the June board of directors meeting on Thursday that the average spring 2019 groundwater levels across the District increased 2.08 feet since 1982. These levels are averaged from the 437 wells that NRD staff read this year from mid-April to mid-June. Zakrzewski said all 24 GWMAs saw increases because of timely rains during the 2018 irrigation season that continued throughout the fall, and 200 to 300 percent above normal precipitation this spring.
A comparison of the 1982 levels was established as the standard for the NRD’s Groundwater Management Plan with maximum acceptable declines and a margin of safety calculated for each of the District’s 24 Ground Water Management Areas (GWMA).
Four of the 24 GWMAs are currently in the 25 percent decline suspension that does not allow transfers of irrigated acres into the areas or supplemental wells. The NRD’s rules and regulations require the areas to stay in suspension for five years. Two of the four areas in suspension are above the 25 percent decline for the second consecutive year, while the remaining two areas are showing an increase for their first year. If the water table would fall to 50 percent of the maximum decline, Phase II would go into effect requiring mandatory reductions in irrigated acres.
Central Platte NRD serves 11 counties including all of Dawson and parts of Frontier, Custer Buffalo, Hall, Howard, Nance, Merrick, Hamilton, Platte and Polk. Interactive maps are available at cpnrd.gisworkshop.com.