|Look for December 2013 "Did You Know" tips at links below|
- Agricultural Irrigation
- Crop Production
- Drinking Water
- Lakes / Ponds / Streams
- Lawn and Landscape Irrigation
- Lawns, Landscapes and Gardens
- Livestock Manure Management
- Policy / Law / Economics / Human Behavior
- Stormwater Management
- Wastewater - Domestic Sewage
- Water Basics (groundwater, surface water, hydrology)
- Well and Wellhead Management
groundwater, surface water, hydrology
"It's a worn-out phrase to say that 'water is the lifeblood of the state,' but it is worn out because it is true."
Although the above words were spoken in the early 1990s by then-Nebraska Governor Ben Nelson, they are still very true today.
Water is vital to Nebraska. In fact, groundwater provides approximately 85 percent of the water used for human consumption in Nebraska.
With approximately half of the state's cropland under irrigation (see brief history of irrigation in Nebraska), agriculture, by far, is the leading consumer of water.
Water is essential for other uses as well: communities, power generation, tourism and manufacturing.
But most importantly, water is essential for life itself. No matter where people live, in large cities or on an isolated farm, they all need water. Groundwater provides approximately 85 percent of Nebraska's drinking water. Fortunately, Nebraska has excellent water resources - ground and surface.
Probably the best known is the Ogallala/High Plains Aquifer, which lies beneath much of the state. Not as well known is that Nebraska ranks 10th nationally in miles of rivers and streams.
Unfortunately, we have not always managed our water resources well. Nor have we done the things needed to ensure long-term quality.
The challenge is to ensure the continued availability of water, adequate in both quantity and quality, for today's and future needs.
Wise management of our resources is a big factor in meeting that challenge.
We manage water when we slow or halt runoff from rain, store streamflows and pump groundwater. These actions affect water use and conservation and help prevent pollution.
Management also can help prevent and, in some cases clean up, water pollution. Water quality concerns are now as important to Nebraskans as quantity concerns have been for decades.
Urban and rural Nebraskans share the responsibility of wisely managing water. Sharing a resource requires educated citizens and policy makers. Education is the key to understanding water issues.