Protect your irrigation wells--make sure they are properly registered!
Since September 9, 1993, all new wells, including domestic wells, have been required to be registered with the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (formerly the Department of Water Resources). Irrigation wells have been required to be registered since 1957. According to the Department, wells used for solely domestic purposes, for livestock water, or for both are all considered to be domestic wells.
There are a number of things going on at the state and federal level (Nebraska Game & Parks Instream Flows, 3-State Platte River Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), etc) that could restrict new surface water uses and new groundwater wells. It appears that existing wells would likely be exempt, as long as they are properly registered. Wells not properly registered are, by law, illegal wells and may become subject to the same restrictions as new wells. Because of that possibility, the Upper Loup NRD is urging all landowners to make sure that their irrigation wells are properly registered with the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources.
Nebraska State Law in Statute §46-601 states "The registration of all wells, except wells used solely for domestic purposes, in this state should be required," and in §46-657 states an "Illegal well shall mean (a) any well operated or constructed without or in violation of a permit required by the Nebraska Ground Water Management and Protection Act, (b) any well not in compliance with rules and regulations adopted and promulgated pursuant to such act, (c) any well not properly registered in accordance with section §46-602 to §46-604, or (d) any well not in compliance with any other applicable laws of the State of Nebraska or with rules and regulations adopted and promulgated pursuant to such laws".
The Nebraska Department of Water Resources requires all wells to be properly registered with the State. If there has been a change of ownership (a landowner dies or if you have purchased or inherited land), a change of ownership registration is required. To verify that your well is properly registered, contact the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources.