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Groundwater Transfer Permits

In Nebraska the authority to regulate ground water is shared between the state and local natural resources districts.  In terms of transfering ground water off the overlying land, the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources has the primary responsibility to administer the Municipal and Rural Domestic Ground Water Transfers Act and the Industrial Ground Water Regulatory Act.  The initial statutory references are provided below.  The local natural resources districts have the authority and responsibility to manage transfers of ground water for agricultural purposes.

 

Municipal and Rural Domestic Ground Water Transfers Permit Act
Nebraska Revised Statutes Sections 46-638 to 46-650 shall be known and cited as the Municipal and Rural Domestic Ground Water Transfers Permit Act. 
    46-639. Application for permit; contents; fee.

An applicant which desires to avail itself of the Municipal and Rural Domestic Ground Water Transfers Permit Act shall make application in writing to the Director of Natural Resources for a permit. The application shall include (1) a statement of the amount of water for which a permit is desired together with an exhibit of maps showing the location of all water wells and (2) such other information as the director deems necessary or desirable. The application shall be accompanied by a fee in the amount of fifty dollars for the first five million gallons per day and an additional twenty dollars for each additional increment of five million gallons per day requested. The fee shall be based on the amounts of water requested on a daily average basis.

46-640. Notice of application; publication; objections; hearing.

Upon receipt of an application filed under section 46-639, the Director of Natural Resources shall cause a notice of such application to be published at the applicant's expense at least once a week for three consecutive weeks in a legal newspaper published or of general circulation in each county containing lands on which the water well field or any part of such water well field is or is proposed to be located. The notice shall contain a description of the lands upon which such water well field is or is proposed to be located, the amount of water requested, the number of water wells constructed or proposed, and any other relevant information. The notice shall state that any interested person may object to and request a hearing on the application by filing written objections specifically stating the grounds for each objection within two weeks after the date of final publication in the office of the director.


 
Industrial Ground Water Regulatory Act
The Legislature mandated that a permit system is necessary to protect Nebraska's ground and surface water resources and existing water users in situations where industrial users withdraw significant quantities of ground water from the aquifers of the state and in situations where such ground water is transferred from the water well site for use at another location. Industrial Ground Water Regulatory Act was passed in order to fulfill its declaration.

46-677. Withdrawal of ground water for industrial purposes; permit required; when.

Except as provided in sections 46-676.01 and 46-678.01:

(a) Any person who desires to withdraw and transfer ground water from aquifers located within the State of Nebraska for industrial purposes shall, prior to commencing construction of any water wells, obtain from the director a permit to authorize such withdrawal and transfer of such ground water; and

(b) Any person who prior to April 23, 1993, has withdrawn ground water from aquifers located in the State of Nebraska for industrial purposes may file an application for a permit to authorize the transfer of such ground water at any time.

(2) For purposes of this section, industrial purposes includes manufacturing, commercial, and power generation uses of water and commercial use includes, but is not limited to, maintenance of the turf of a golf course.

46-676.01. Applicability of act.

The Industrial Ground Water Regulatory Act does not apply to any public water supplier providing, or intending to provide, ground water for industrial purposes nor does the act apply to any person who is using, or intends to use, ground water for industrial purposes that is supplied by a public water supplier.