LENRD declares a drought emergency for region
NORFOLK, Neb. -- The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District is now working on a plan to help manage water in the district to combat the region's sustained drought.
With harsh weather plaguing Nebraska, the LENRD voted to begin developing a potential plan to help combat the drought by restricting groundwater.
The decision was made on Thursday after the drought mitigation committee gave their report, showing most of northeast Nebraska to be in a D3 or D4 level drought. According to the drought monitor, a D3 is considered an extreme drought, and a D4 is an exceptional drought.
While the LENRD has declared the emergency, no restrictions on water usage are being put in place at this time.
LENRD General Manager Mike Sousek said declaring the emergency is the first step to creating a plan.
There were some concerns about what the restrictions on groundwater usage would be.
One community member at the meeting claimed land owners said the board was planning to restrict usage to nine inches.
Chad Korth, who is on the Drought Mitigation Committee, denied this, saying no number had been set, but a 9-inch limit had not been discussed.
"Our number that we came up with comfortably would be 14 inches," Korth said.
While no set plan is in place, some information on the decision was given during Thursday's meeting.
The restriction would apply to municipal, and public water supplies as well as irrigation wells located in a D3-D4 designated area.
A decision would be made by Nov. 1 on whether or not to implement a plan. Should conditions get better, restrictions may not be necessary. Should restrictions be put in place, they cannot be lifted until an area has been in a D1 level drought for 60 continuous days.
"We're users of the water," Korth said. "This comes from guys that are irrigating their crops. The decisions...the number we come up with are not made lightly at all."
More details about the LENRD's drought mitigation plan will be presented at the October subcommittee meeting.