The Central Platte Natural Resources District recently held two meetings in Amherst and Kearney to address groundwater decline concerns in Sub-Area 9 of the NRD’s Groundwater Management Program in Buffalo and Dawson counties.
Groundwater levels in northern Dawson and Buffalo counties are down on average 12.39 feet since the 1982 baseline year. Groundwater levels have continually declined in the area since 2001. Central Platte NRD general manager, Lyndon Vogt, made it clear that the decline needs to be stabilized.
The 70 landowners who attended the meetings received information on the static groundwater levels, hydrologic studies of groundwater sustainability, and current groundwater studies from HDR Engineering, UNL, and Central Platte NRD staff.
An open discussion session provided area landowners and producers the opportunity to visit with the NRD about their concerns and to give their thoughts on management of the aquifer.
“Our preference would be for you to pump less water,” said Vogt. “It feels great to be here in front of you saying that the NRD wants to help you in whatever way we can whether it’s through funding, educational opportunities, providing speakers, or technical advice; instead of saying we have to implement regulations right away.”
Although the Central Platte NRD would prefer that landowners reach the goal to stabilize the groundwater decline in the area on their own, if groundwater levels continue to drop over the next few years then regulations would need to be implemented.
The 300 landowners who have certified acres in the decline area were personally invited to the meetings as well as the public.
Participants who attended said that they were appreciative to have the opportunity to address the situation on their own instead of having to look at regulations right away. The Central Platte NRD board will work with the landowners to determine opportunities available to move forward.
A current groundwater level map can be found at: cpnrd.org/groundwater-quantity.