(1) A natural resources district may establish a ground water management area in accordance with this section to accomplish any one or more of the following objectives: (a) Protection of ground water quantity; (b) protection of ground water quality; or (c) prevention or resolution of conflicts between users of ground water and appropriators of surface water, which ground water and surface water are hydrologically connected.
(2) Prior to establishment by a district of a management area other than a management area being established in accordance with section 46-718, the district's management plan shall have been approved by the Director of Natural Resources or the district shall have completed the requirements of subsection (2) of section 46-711. If necessary to determine whether a management area should be designated, the district may initiate new studies and data-collection efforts and develop computer models. In order to establish a management area, the district shall fix a time and place for a public hearing to consider the management plan information supplied by the director and to hear any other evidence. The hearing shall be located within or in reasonable proximity to the area proposed for designation as a management area. Notice of the hearing shall be published as provided in section 46-743, and the hearing shall be conducted in accordance with such section.
(3)(a) Within ninety days after the hearing, the district shall determine whether a management area shall be designated. If the district determines that no management area shall be established, the district shall issue an order to that effect.
(b) If the district determines that a management area shall be established, the district shall by order designate the area as a management area and shall adopt one or more controls authorized by section 46-739 to be utilized within the area in order to achieve the ground water management objectives specified in the plan. Such an order shall include a geographic and stratigraphic definition of the area. The boundaries and controls shall take into account any considerations brought forth at the hearing and administrative factors directly affecting the ability of the district to implement and carry out local ground water management.
(c) The controls adopted shall not include controls substantially different from those set forth in the notice of the hearing. The area designated by the order shall not include any area not included in the notice of the hearing.
(4) Modification of the boundaries of a district-designated management area or dissolution of such an area shall be in accordance with the procedures established in this section. Hearings for such modifications or for dissolution may not be initiated more often than once a year. Hearings for modification of controls may be initiated as often as deemed necessary by the district, and such modifications may be accomplished using the procedure in this section.
(5) A district shall, prior to adopting or amending any rules or regulations for a management area, consult with any holders of permits for intentional or incidental underground water storage and recovery issued pursuant to section 46-226.02, 46-233, 46-240, 46-241, 46-242, or 46-297.
(6) If a ground water management area has been adopted by a district under this section that includes one or more controls authorized by subdivision (1)(f) or (1)(m) of section 46-739, the district may request the Department of Natural Resources to conduct an evaluation to determine if an immediate stay should be placed on the issuance of new surface water natural-flow appropriations in the area, river basin, subbasin, or reach of the management area, and the department may determine that the stay is in the public interest. The stay may include provisions for exceptions to be granted for beneficial uses as described in subsection (3) of section 46-714 or for a project that provides hydrological benefit to the area of the stay and may include provisions that the stay may be rescinded based on new or additional information that may become available.