46-707. Natural resources district; powers; enumerated; fee.

(1) Regardless of whether or not any portion of a district has been designated as a management area, in order to administer and enforce the Nebraska Ground Water Management and Protection Act and to effectuate the policy of the state to conserve ground water resources, a district may:

(a) Adopt and promulgate rules and regulations necessary to discharge the administrative duties assigned in the act;

(b) Require such reports from ground water users as may be necessary;

(c) Require the reporting of water uses and irrigated acres by landowners and others with control over the water uses and irrigated acres for the purpose of certification by the district;

(d) Require meters to be placed on any water wells for the purpose of acquiring water use data;

(e) Require decommissioning of water wells that are not properly classified as active status water wells as defined in section 46-1204.02 or inactive status water wells as defined in section 46-1207.02;

(f) Conduct investigations and cooperate or contract with agencies of the United States, agencies or political subdivisions of this state, public or private corporations, or any association or individual on any matter relevant to the administration of the act;

(g) Report to and consult with the Department of Environment and Energy on all matters concerning the entry of contamination or contaminating materials into ground water supplies; and

(h) Issue cease and desist orders, following three days' notice to the person affected stating the contemplated action and in general the grounds for the action and following reasonable opportunity to be heard, to enforce any of the provisions of the act or of orders or permits issued pursuant to the act, to initiate suits to enforce the provisions of orders issued pursuant to the act, and to restrain the construction of illegal water wells or the withdrawal or use of water from illegal water wells.

Before any rule or regulation is adopted pursuant to this subsection, a public hearing shall be held within the district. Notice of the hearing shall be given as provided in section 46-743.

(2) In addition to the powers enumerated in subsection (1) of this section, a district may impose an immediate temporary stay for a period of one hundred eighty days on the construction of any new water well and on any increase in the number of acres historically irrigated, without prior notice or hearing, upon adoption of a resolution by the board finding that such temporary immediate stay is necessary. The district shall hold at least one public hearing on the matter within the district during such one hundred eighty days, with the notice of the hearing given as provided in section 46-743, prior to making a determination as to imposing a permanent stay or conditions in accordance with subsections (1) and (6) of section 46-739. Within forty-five days after a hearing pursuant to this subsection, the district shall decide whether to exempt from the immediate temporary stay the construction of water wells for which permits were issued prior to the date of the resolution commencing the stay but for which construction had not begun prior to such date. If construction of such water wells is allowed, all permits that were valid when the stay went into effect shall be extended by a time period equal to the length of the stay and such water wells shall otherwise be completed in accordance with section 46-738. Water wells listed in subsection (3) of section 46-714 and water wells of public water suppliers are exempt from this subsection.

(3) In addition to the powers enumerated in subsections (1) and (2) of this section, a district may assess a fee against a person requesting a variance to cover the administrative cost of consideration of the variance, including, but not limited to, costs of copying records and the cost of publishing a notice in a legal newspaper of general circulation in the county or counties of the district, radio announcements, or other means of communication deemed necessary in the area where the property is located.

Source:Laws 1975, LB 577, § 8; Laws 1979, LB 26, § 2; Laws 1982, LB 375, § 18; Laws 1984, LB 1071, § 6; Laws 1986, LB 894, § 24; Laws 1993, LB 3, § 10; Laws 1993, LB 131, § 29; Laws 1995, LB 871, § 6; R.S.Supp.,1995, § 46-663; Laws 1996, LB 108, § 14; R.S.1943, (1998), § 46-656.08; Laws 2004, LB 962, § 47; Laws 2007, LB701, § 22; Laws 2009, LB477, § 5; Laws 2012, LB743, § 1; Laws 2014, LB513, § 1; Laws 2019, LB302, § 28.