Nebraska Revised Statute 46-290
Appropriation; application to transfer or change; contents; approval.
(1)(a) Except as provided in this section and sections 46-2,120 to 46-2,130, any person having a permit to appropriate water for beneficial purposes issued pursuant to sections 46-233 to 46-235, 46-240.01, 46-241, 46-242, or 46-637 and who desires (i) to transfer the use of such appropriation to a location other than the location specified in the permit, (ii) to change that appropriation to a different type of appropriation as provided in subsection (3) of this section, or (iii) to change the purpose for which the water is to be used under a natural-flow, storage, or storage-use appropriation to a purpose not at that time permitted under the appropriation shall apply for approval of such transfer or change to the Department of Natural Resources.
(b) The application for such approval shall contain (i) the number assigned to such appropriation by the department, (ii) the name and address of the present holder of the appropriation, (iii) if applicable, the name and address of the person or entity to whom the appropriation would be transferred or who will be the user of record after a change in the location of use, type of appropriation, or purpose of use under the appropriation, (iv) the legal description of the land to which the appropriation is now appurtenant, (v) the name and address of each holder of a mortgage, trust deed, or other equivalent consensual security interest against the tract or tracts of land to which the appropriation is now appurtenant, (vi) if applicable, the legal description of the land to which the appropriation is proposed to be transferred, (vii) if a transfer is proposed, whether other sources of water are available at the original location of use and whether any provisions have been made to prevent either use of a new source of water at the original location or increased use of water from any existing source at that location, (viii) if applicable, the legal descriptions of the beginning and end of the stream reach to which the appropriation is proposed to be transferred for the purpose of augmenting the flows in that stream reach, (ix) if a proposed transfer is for the purpose of increasing the quantity of water available for use pursuant to another appropriation, the number assigned to such other appropriation by the department, (x) the purpose of the current use, (xi) if a change in purpose of use is proposed, the proposed purpose of use, (xii) if a change in the type of appropriation is proposed, the type of appropriation to which a change is desired, (xiii) if a proposed transfer or change is to be temporary in nature, the duration of the proposed transfer or change, and (xiv) such other information as the department by rule and regulation requires.
(2) If a proposed transfer or change is to be temporary in nature, a copy of the proposed agreement between the current appropriator and the person who is to be responsible for use of water under the appropriation while the transfer or change is in effect shall be submitted at the same time as the application.
(3) Regardless of whether a transfer or a change in the purpose of use is involved, the following changes in type of appropriation, if found by the Director of Natural Resources to be consistent with section 46-294, may be approved subject to the following:
(a) A natural-flow appropriation for direct out-of-stream use may be changed to a natural-flow appropriation for aboveground reservoir storage or for intentional underground water storage;
(b) A natural-flow appropriation for intentional underground water storage may be changed to a natural-flow appropriation for direct out-of-stream use or for aboveground reservoir storage;
(c) A natural-flow appropriation for direct out-of-stream use, for aboveground reservoir storage, or for intentional underground water storage may be changed to an instream appropriation subject to sections 46-2,107 to 46-2,119 if the director determines that the resulting instream appropriation would be consistent with subdivisions (2), (3), and (4) of section 46-2,115;
(d) A natural-flow appropriation for direct out-of-stream use, for aboveground reservoir storage, or for intentional underground water storage may be changed to an appropriation for induced ground water recharge if the director determines that the resulting appropriation for induced ground water recharge would be consistent with subdivisions (2)(a)(i) and (ii) of section 46-235;
(e) An appropriation for the manufacturing of hydropower at a facility located on a natural stream channel may be permanently changed in full to an instream basin-management appropriation to be held jointly by the Game and Parks Commission and any natural resources district or combination of natural resources districts. The beneficial use of such change is to maintain the streamflow for fish, wildlife, and recreation that was available from the manufacturing of hydropower prior to the change. Such changed appropriation may also be utilized by the owners of the appropriation to assist in the implementation of an approved integrated management plan or plans developed pursuant to sections 46-714 to 46-718 for each natural resources district within the river basin. Any such change under this section shall be subject to review under sections 46-229 to 46-229.06 to ensure that the beneficial uses of the change of use are still being achieved; and
(f) The incidental underground water storage portion, whether or not previously quantified, of a natural-flow or storage-use appropriation may be separated from the direct-use portion of the appropriation and may be changed to a natural-flow or storage-use appropriation for intentional underground water storage at the same location if the historic consumptive use of the direct-use portion of the appropriation is transferred to another location or is terminated, but such a separation and change may be approved only if, after the separation and change, (i) the total permissible diversion under the appropriation will not increase, (ii) the projected consequences of the separation and change are consistent with the provisions of any integrated management plan adopted in accordance with section 46-718 or 46-719 for the geographic area involved, and (iii) if the location of the proposed intentional underground water storage is in a river basin, subbasin, or reach designated as overappropriated in accordance with section 46-713, the integrated management plan for that river basin, subbasin, or reach has gone into effect, and that plan requires that the amount of the intentionally stored water that is consumed after the change will be no greater than the amount of the incidentally stored water that was consumed prior to the change. Approval of a separation and change pursuant to this subdivision (f) shall not exempt any consumptive use associated with the incidental recharge right from any reduction in water use required by an integrated management plan for a river basin, subbasin, or reach designated as overappropriated in accordance with section 46-713.
Whenever any change in type of appropriation is approved pursuant to this subsection and as long as that change remains in effect, the appropriation shall be subject to the statutes, rules, and regulations that apply to the type of appropriation to which the change has been made.
(4) The Legislature finds that induced ground water recharge appropriations issued pursuant to sections 46-233 and 46-235 and instream appropriations issued pursuant to section 46-2,115 are specific to the location identified in the appropriation. Neither type of appropriation shall be transferred to a different location, changed to a different type of appropriation, or changed to permit a different purpose of use.
(5) In addition to any other purposes for which transfers and changes may be approved, such transfers and changes may be approved if the purpose is (a) to maintain or augment the flow in a specific stream reach for any instream use that the department has determined, through rules and regulations, to be a beneficial use or (b) to increase the frequency that a diversion rate or rate of flow specified in another valid appropriation is achieved.
For any transfer or change approved pursuant to subdivision (a) of this subsection, the department shall be provided with a report at least every five years while such transfer or change is in effect. The purpose of such report shall be to indicate whether the beneficial instream use for which the flow is maintained or augmented continues to exist. If the report indicates that it does not or if no report is filed within sixty days after the department's notice to the appropriator that the deadline for filing the report has passed, the department may cancel its approval of the transfer or change and such appropriation shall revert to the same location of use, type of appropriation, and purpose of use as prior to such approval.
(6) A quantified or unquantified appropriation for incidental underground water storage may be transferred to a new location along with the direct-use appropriation with which it is recognized if the director finds such transfer to be consistent with section 46-294 and determines that the geologic and other relevant conditions at the new location are such that incidental underground water storage will occur at the new location. The director may request such information from the applicant as is needed to make such determination and may modify any such quantified appropriation for incidental underground water storage, if necessary, to reflect the geologic and other conditions at the new location.
(7) Unless an incidental underground water storage appropriation is changed as authorized by subdivision (3)(f) of this section or is transferred as authorized by subsection (6) of this section or subsection (1) of section 46-291, such appropriation shall be canceled or modified, as appropriate, by the director to reflect any reduction in water that will be stored underground as the result of a transfer or change of the direct-use appropriation with which the incidental underground water storage was recognized prior to the transfer or change.
(8) Any appropriation for manufacturing of hydropower changed under subdivision (3)(e) of this section shall maintain the priority date and preference category of the original manufacturing appropriation and shall be subject to condemnation and subordination pursuant to sections 70-668 and 70-669. Any person holding a subordination agreement that was established prior to such change of appropriation shall be entitled to enter into a new subordination agreement for terms consistent with the original subordination agreement at no additional cost. Any person having obtained a condemnation award that was established prior to such change of appropriation shall be entitled to the same benefits created by such award, and any obligations created by such award shall become the obligations of the new owner of the appropriation changed under this section.