Nebraska Revised Statute 46-235
Application for water; approval; date of priority; conditional or partial approval; hearing; director; powers and duties.
(1) For applications other than those to appropriate public waters for induced ground water recharge, if there is unappropriated water in the source of supply named in the application, if such application and appropriation when perfected are not otherwise detrimental to the public welfare, and if denial of the application is not demanded by the public interest, the department shall approve the application and shall make a record in its office and return the application to the applicant, who shall on receipt thereof be authorized to proceed with the work and to take such measures as may be necessary to perfect such application into an appropriation. The priority of such application and appropriation when perfected shall date from the filing of the application in the office of the department, and the date of filing shall be regarded as the priority number thereof. The department may, upon examination of such application, approve it for a shorter period of time for perfecting the proposed appropriation or for a smaller amount of water or of land than applied for. The department may also impose such other reasonable conditions as it deems appropriate to protect the public interest. An applicant aggrieved by the action of the department shall, upon proper showing, be granted a hearing before the department, which hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the rules of procedure adopted by the department, and a full and complete record shall be kept of all such proceedings. When a complete record of the case has been made up, the department shall render an opinion of facts and of law based upon the evidence before it.
(2)(a) An application for an induced ground water recharge appropriation for public water supplier wells constructed and placed in service before September 9, 1993, shall be approved by the director if he or she finds that:
(i) The appropriation is necessary to maintain the well or wells for the use or uses for which the appropriation has been requested;
(ii) The rate and timing of the flow is the amount reasonably necessary to maintain the well or wells for the uses for which the appropriation has been requested; and
(iii) The application is in the public interest and is not detrimental to the public welfare. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that wells which are the subject of an application pursuant to subdivision (2)(a) of this section are in the public interest and are not detrimental to the public welfare.
(b) The director may approve the application for a well or wells constructed before September 9, 1993, but may specifically deny the applicant the right to request regulation of junior appropriators if the director, at the time of approval, finds that the well or wells, at the time of their construction, were not located, designed, or constructed so as to take reasonable advantage of aquifer conditions in the area to minimize the frequency and amount of the demand for flows for induced ground water recharge. Thereafter a public water supplier holding an approved application which has been denied the right to request regulation of junior appropriators may petition the director for a hearing to present evidence showing the director that the well or wells have been modified, relocated, or reconstructed to take reasonable advantage of the aquifer conditions in the area. If the director determines that the well or wells have been so modified, relocated, or reconstructed, the director shall cause to be modified the approval of the application to allow for the regulation of junior appropriators, subject to the restrictions or conditions applicable to public water suppliers.
(c) An application for an induced ground water recharge appropriation for public water supplier wells constructed and placed in service before September 9, 1993, shall not be subject to the requirements of sections 46-288 and 46-289.
(3) An application for an induced ground water recharge appropriation for public water supplier wells constructed or to be constructed on or after September 9, 1993, shall be approved by the director if he or she makes the findings required by subdivision (2)(a) of this section and further finds that:
(a) There is unappropriated water available for the appropriation; and
(b) The well or wells involved have been or will be located and constructed to take reasonable advantage of aquifer conditions in the area to minimize the frequency and amount of the demand for flows for induced ground water recharge.
(4)(a) The director may approve the application filed under subsection (2) or (3) of this section for a smaller amount of water than requested by the applicant. The director may also impose reasonable conditions on the manner and timing of the appropriation which the director deems necessary to protect the public interest. The director may grant an appropriation for specific months of the year if so demanded by the public interest. If the director approves the application, he or she shall issue a written order, which written order shall include the findings required by this section, the amount of the appropriation, and any conditions or limitations imposed under this section.
(b) In determining whether an application for an appropriation for induced ground water recharge is in the public interest, the director's considerations shall include, but not be limited to, the possible adverse effects on existing surface water or ground water users and the economic, social, and environmental value of such uses, including, but not limited to, irrigation, recreation, fish and wildlife, public water supply, induced ground water recharge for public water supply systems, and water quality maintenance.
(c) The stream segment and the determination of a reasonable and necessary amount of water required for induced ground water recharge purposes throughout the reach shall be defined specifically by the director in the order issued under this section.
- Laws 1919, c. 190, tit. VII, art. V, div. 2, § 17, p. 842;
- C.S.1922, § 8436;
- C.S.1929, § 81-6317;
- R.S.1943, § 46-235;
- Laws 1981, LB 252, § 4;
- Laws 1987, LB 140, § 6;
- Laws 1993, LB 301, § 4;
- Laws 2000, LB 900, § 107.
Subsection (1) of this section does not require that the director engage in a particular sequential consideration of the issues presented by an application. Central Platte NRD v. City of Fremont, 250 Neb. 252, 549 N.W.2d 112 (1996).
Approval of an application merely authorizes the successful applicant to take other measures to perfect the application into an appropriation. In re Applications A-16027 et al., 242 Neb. 315, 495 N.W.2d 23 (1993).
Because the word "may" in a statute will be given its ordinary, permissive, and discretionary meaning unless it can be shown that the intent of the drafters would be defeated by the application of such a meaning, the Department of Water Resources may decline to approve an appropriation of water which is significantly less than the application requests and may also impose such other reasonable conditions as it deems appropriate to protect the public interest. In re Application A-15738, 226 Neb. 146, 410 N.W.2d 101 (1987).
Order approving application for appropriation may be made subject to limitations and conditions. Ainsworth Irr. Dist. v. Bejot, 170 Neb. 257, 102 N.W.2d 416 (1960).
Discretionary power of approval by department is conferred. Custer Public Power Dist. v. Loup River Public Power Dist., 162 Neb. 300, 75 N.W.2d 619 (1956).
Approval of application for an appropriation is an exercise of quasi-judicial power by the department. North Loup River P. P. & I. Dist. v. Loup River P. P. Dist., 162 Neb. 22, 74 N.W.2d 863 (1956).
An appropriation of public waters may be allowed in an amount less than that applied for, and if the applicant is dissatisfied, he must appeal. Loup River Public Power District v. North Loup River Public Power & Irr. Dist., 142 Neb. 141, 5 N.W.2d 240 (1942).
The irrigation act of 1889 prescribed no method of making a claim of appropriation of water, except the construction of works in which to divert the water and diverting it into such works. The extent of the appropriation was measured by the appropriation claimed, but within the limits of the capacity of the diversion works. Vonburg v. Farmers Irr. Dist., 132 Neb. 12, 270 N.W. 835 (1937).