Nebraska Revised Statute 46-739
Management area; controls authorized; procedure.
(1) A district in which a management area has been designated shall by order adopt one or more of the following controls for the management area:
(a) It may allocate the amount of ground water that may be withdrawn by ground water users;
(b) It may adopt a system of rotation for use of ground water;
(c) It may adopt well-spacing requirements more restrictive than those found in sections 46-609 and 46-651;
(d) It may require the installation of devices for measuring ground water withdrawals from water wells;
(e) It may adopt a system which requires reduction of irrigated acres pursuant to subsection (2) of section 46-740;
(f) It may limit or prevent the expansion of irrigated acres or otherwise limit or prevent increases in the consumptive use of ground water withdrawals from water wells used for irrigation or other beneficial purposes;
(g) It may require the use of best management practices;
(h) It may require the analysis of water or deep soils for fertilizer and chemical content;
(i) It may impose mandatory educational requirements designed to protect water quality or to stabilize or reduce the incidence of ground water depletion, conflicts between ground water users and surface water appropriators, disputes over interstate compacts or decrees, or difficulties fulfilling the provisions of other formal state contracts or agreements;
(j) It may require water quality monitoring and reporting of results to the district for all water wells within all or part of the management area;
(k) It may require district approval of (i) transfers of ground water off the land where the water is withdrawn, (ii) transfers of rights to use ground water that result from district allocations imposed pursuant to subdivision (1)(a) of this section or from other restrictions on use that are imposed by the district in accordance with this section, (iii) transfers of certified water uses or certified irrigated acres between landowners or other persons, or (iv) transfers of certified water uses or certified irrigated acres between parcels or tracts under the control of a common landowner or other person. Such approval may be required whether the transfer is within the management area, from inside to outside the management area, or from outside to inside the management area, except that transfers for which permits have been obtained from the Department of Natural Resources prior to July 16, 2004, or pursuant to the Municipal and Rural Domestic Ground Water Transfers Permit Act shall not be subject to district approval pursuant to this subdivision. If the district adopts rules and regulations pursuant to this subdivision, such regulations shall require that the district deny or condition the approval of any such transfer when and to the extent such action is necessary to (A) ensure the consistency of the transfer with the purpose or purposes for which the management area was designated, (B) prevent adverse effects on other ground water users or on surface water appropriators, (C) prevent adverse effects on the state's ability to comply with an interstate compact or decree or to fulfill the provisions of any other formal state contract or agreement, and (D) otherwise protect the public interest and prevent detriment to the public welfare. Approval of any transfer of certified water uses or certified irrigated acres under subdivision (1)(k)(iii) or (iv) of this section shall further be subject to the district having complied with the requirements of section 46-739.01;
(l) It may require, when conditions so permit, that new or replacement water wells to be used for domestic or other purposes shall be constructed to such a depth that they are less likely to be affected by seasonal water level declines caused by other water wells in the same area;
(m) It may close all or a portion of the management area to the issuance of additional permits or may condition the issuance of additional permits on compliance with other rules and regulations adopted and promulgated by the district to achieve the purpose or purposes for which the management area was designated; and
(n) It may adopt and promulgate such other reasonable rules and regulations as are necessary to carry out the purpose for which a management area was designated.
(2) In adopting, amending, or repealing any control authorized by subsection (1) of this section or sections 46-740 and 46-741, the district's considerations shall include, but not be limited to, whether it reasonably appears that such action will mitigate or eliminate the condition which led to designation of the management area or will improve the administration of the area.
(3) Upon request by the district or when any of the controls being proposed are for the purpose of integrated management of hydrologically connected ground water and surface water, the Director of Natural Resources shall review and comment on the adoption, amendment, or repeal of any authorized control in a management area. The director may hold a public hearing to consider testimony regarding the control prior to commenting on the adoption, amendment, or repeal of the control. The director shall consult with the district and fix a time, place, and date for such hearing. In reviewing and commenting on an authorized control in a management area, the director's considerations shall include, but not be limited to, those enumerated in subsection (2) of this section.
(4) If because of varying ground water uses, varying surface water uses, different irrigation distribution systems, or varying climatic, hydrologic, geologic, or soil conditions existing within a management area the uniform application throughout such area of one or more controls would fail to carry out the intent of the Nebraska Ground Water Management and Protection Act in a reasonably effective and equitable manner, the controls adopted by the district pursuant to this section may contain different provisions for different categories of ground water use or portions of the management area which differ from each other because of varying climatic, hydrologic, geologic, or soil conditions. Any differences in such provisions shall recognize and be directed toward such varying ground water uses or varying conditions. Except as otherwise provided in this section, if the district adopts different controls for different categories of ground water use, those controls shall be consistent with section 46-613 and shall, for each such category, be uniform for all portions of the area which have substantially similar climatic, hydrologic, geologic, and soil conditions.
(5) The district may establish different water allocations for different irrigation distribution systems.
(6)(a) The district may establish different provisions for different hydrologic relationships between ground water and surface water.
(b) For management areas a purpose of which is the integrated management of hydrologically connected ground water and surface water, the district may establish different provisions for water wells either permitted or constructed before the designation of a management area for integrated management of hydrologically connected ground water and surface water and for water wells either permitted or constructed on or after the designation date or any other later date or dates established by the district. Permits for construction of new wells not completed by the date of the determination of fully appropriated shall be subject to any conditions imposed by the applicable natural resources district.
(c) For a management area in a river basin or part of a river basin that is or was the subject of litigation over an interstate water compact or decree in which the State of Nebraska is a named defendant, the district may establish different provisions for restriction of water wells constructed after January 1, 2001, if such litigation was commenced before or on May 22, 2001. If such litigation is commenced after May 22, 2001, the district may establish different provisions for restriction of water wells constructed after the date on which such litigation is commenced in federal court. An appeal from a decision of the district under this subdivision shall be in accordance with the hearing procedures established in the Nebraska Ground Water Management and Protection Act.
(d) Except as otherwise authorized by law, the district shall make a replacement water well as defined in section 46-602, or as further defined in district rules and regulations, subject to the same provisions as the water well it replaces.
(7) If the district has included controls delineated in subdivision (1)(m) of this section in its management plan, but has not implemented such controls within two years after the initial public hearing on the controls, the district shall hold a public hearing, as provided in section 46-712, regarding the controls before implementing them.
(8) In addition to the controls listed in subsection (1) of this section, a district in which a management area has been designated may also adopt and implement one or more of the following measures if it determines that any such measures would help the district and water users achieve the goals and objectives of the management area: (a) It may sponsor nonmandatory educational programs; and (b) it may establish and implement financial or other incentive programs. As a condition for participation in an incentive program, the district may require water users or landowners to enter into and perform such agreements or covenants concerning the use of land or water as are necessary to produce the benefits for which the incentive program is established and shall further condition participation upon satisfaction of the requirements of section 46-739.01.
- Laws 1975, LB 577, § 11;
- Laws 1978, LB 217, § 2;
- Laws 1979, LB 26, § 4;
- Laws 1980, LB 643, § 13;
- Laws 1981, LB 146, § 9;
- Laws 1982, LB 375, § 19;
- Laws 1983, LB 23, § 7;
- Laws 1983, LB 506, § 1;
- Laws 1984, LB 1071, § 8;
- Laws 1986, LB 894, § 25;
- Laws 1993, LB 131, § 30;
- R.S.1943, (1993), § 46-666;
- Laws 1996, LB 108, § 31;
- Laws 1997, LB 877, § 6;
- Laws 2000, LB 900, § 196;
- Laws 2001, LB 135, § 2;
- Laws 2001, LB 667, § 9;
- R.S.Supp.,2002, § 46-656.25;
- Laws 2004, LB 962, § 79;
- Laws 2006, LB 1226, § 27;
- Laws 2009, LB477, § 6.
- Municipal and Rural Domestic Ground Water Transfers Permit Act, see section 46-650.
A look-back provision of a natural resources district's rules governing land irrigation established a baseline number of acres historically irrigated within the natural resources district and was in accord with the authority provided under the Nebraska Ground Water Management and Protection Act to limit the expansion of irrigated acres. Lingenfelter v. Lower Elkhorn NRD, 294 Neb. 46, 881 N.W.2d 892 (2016).