Upper Big NRD public hearing scheduled for July 30

The Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District (NRD) will hold a public hearing to receive public testimony concerning changes to the District’s Groundwater Management Area Rules and Regulations.  The hearing will be held on Wednesday, July 30, at 7:30 p.m., at the District office located at 105 N. Lincoln Avenue in York.

On April 17, the Upper Big Blue NRD Board of Directors declared a 180-day temporary stay on well drilling in approximately 40 percent of the District.  The purpose of the stay is to give the Upper Big Blue NRD Board the opportunity to address the concerns over groundwater conflicts among irrigation, domestic and municipal users.

The major proposed changes in the regulations include the designation of approximately 430 square miles of the Upper Big Blue NRD District as a “High Risk Groundwater Area.”

The following regulations are proposed in the High Risk Groundwater Area:

1.  New high capacity wells (wells that pump more than 50 g.p.m.) must be at least 1,250 feet from existing high capacity wells, including wells with the same ownership.
2.  New high capacity wells must be at least 1,250 feet from existing domestic wells under different ownership.
3.   New high capacity wells must be at least two miles from existing municipal wells.
4.  No more than one high capacity well may exist on a tract of land consisting of eighty acres or less, with no more than two wells per 160 acres.  Existing wells may be replaced.
5.  A Municipal User shall have adopted an administrative procedure that allows the Municipal User to require water conservation practices and restrict the water use of its customers.
6.  New or replacement domestic water wells shall be constructed to such a depth that they are less likely to be affected by seasonal water level declines caused by other water wells in the same area.

The Draft Rule Changes can be viewed at www.upperbigblue.org by clicking on the “District Rules and Regulations” button on the right sidebar of the Homepage.  This will take you to the Rules and Regulations Page.  Next, click the “SPECIAL Drafts & Proposed Changes of Rules for PUBLIC HEARING” button.

The Upper Big Blue NRD protects lives, property and the future of this area through a wide-range of stewardship, management and education programs—from flood control to groundwater monitoring, from irrigation management to outdoor recreation and more.  From time to time, the Upper Big Blue NRD Board of Directors deem it necessary to review existing rules for modification, and/or establish new rules to maintain proper stewardship in order to protect the quality and quantity of Nebraska’s natural resources.  Activities and projects of the Upper Big Blue NRD are reviewed and approved by a locally elected Board of Directors.

The Upper Big Blue NRD is one of 23 Natural Resources Districts across the state.  For more information, visit www.upperbigblue.org or call (402) 362-6601.  

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