Nebraska Revised Statute 46-252

Chapter 46


Conducting of water into or along natural channels; withdrawal; permit, when required; liability.

(1) Any person may conduct, either from outside the state or from sources located in the state, quantities of water over and above those already present into or along any of the natural streams or channels of this state, for purposes of instream beneficial uses or withdrawal of some or all of such water for out-of-stream beneficial uses, at any point without regard to any prior appropriation of water from such stream, due allowance being made for losses in transit to be determined by the Department of Natural Resources. The department shall monitor movement of the water by measurements or other means and shall be responsible for assuring that such quantities are not subsequently diverted or withdrawn by others unless they are authorized to do so by the person conducting the water.

(2) Except as provided in subsections (3) and (4) of this section, before any person may conduct water into or along any of the natural streams or channels of the state, he or she shall first obtain a permit from the department. Application for the permit shall be made on forms provided by the department. Applications shall include plans and specifications detailing the intended times, amounts, and streamreach locations and such other information as required by the department. The water subject to such a permit shall be deemed appropriated for the use specified in the permit. Permitholders shall be liable for any damages resulting from the overflow of such stream or channel when water so conducted contributed to such overflow.

(3) Any person actually engaged in the construction or operation of any water power plant may, without filing with the department and upon payment of all damages, use any such stream or channel for a tailrace or canal and may, whenever necessary, widen, deepen, or straighten the bed of any such stream. All damages resulting therefrom shall be determined in the manner set forth in sections 76-704 to 76-724.

(4) Any person holding a storage use permit pursuant to section 46-242 shall not be required to obtain the permit required by this section.

(5) Nothing in this section shall be construed to exempt a person from obtaining any other permits required by law.


  • Laws 1919, c. 190, tit. VII, art. V, div. 3, § 8, p. 848;
  • C.S.1922, § 8458;
  • C.S.1929, § 46-608;
  • R.S.1943, § 46-252;
  • Laws 1951, c. 101, § 94, p. 488;
  • Laws 1955, c. 183, § 4, p. 516;
  • Laws 1992, LB 49, § 1;
  • Laws 2000, LB 900, § 118.


  • Diversion of water through lands of others without their consent may be enjoined. Kuhlmann v. Platte Valley Irr. Dist., 166 Neb. 493, 89 N.W.2d 768 (1958).

  • Damages recoverable in a condemnation proceeding must be based upon the value of the land in the condition it was at the time of the condemnation. In re Platte Valley Public Power & Irr. Dist., 137 Neb. 313, 289 N.W. 383 (1939).

  • Natural stream can be used to conduct irrigation water, but user is liable for damages arising from such use, and, if damage is likely to continue, use may be enjoined. Hagadone v. Dawson County Irr. Co., 136 Neb. 258, 285 N.W. 600 (1939).

  • Defendant district was authorized to condemn right-of-way for transmission lines across plaintiffs' lands irrespective of boundary lines. Johnson v. Platte Valley Public Power & Irr. Dist., 133 Neb. 97, 274 N.W. 386 (1937).

  • Diversion of waters across lands of another without compliance with statute was enjoined, though permission was granted by board of public works. Harris v. Steele, 110 Neb. 213, 193 N.W. 268 (1923).

  • In interest of good husbandry, flow of surface waters along natural depressions or drainways through farm lands may be accelerated and incidentally increased by artificial means. Steiner v. Steiner, 97 Neb. 449, 150 N.W. 205 (1914).