Water News Archive

Groundwater Levels

Groundwater levels are an indication of how humans and climate have impacted the amount of water stored below ground, and the amount of groundwater that flows out of the ground to streams, rivers, springs, and lakes. Depletion of groundwater resources would have major social, economic, and ecological impacts in Nebraska and beyond.

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Groundwater Quality and Protection

In many parts of Nebraska, the natural quality of groundwater is suitable for both humans and ecosystems. However, in some areas the groundwater quality has been impacted by high levels of nitrate from human activities, or naturally high levels of uranium or arsenic. These groundwater quality issues can cause significant challenges for communities, in part because of the cost of treating groundwater to reduce contaminants to meet drinking water standards.

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Aquifers of Nebraska

There are at least seven major aquifer systems in Nebraska. By far, the High Plains/Ogallala aquifer is the largest in terms of volume of water in storage and withdrawals for irrigation. Several secondary aquifers exist in areas outside of the High Plains aquifer, providing water for irrigation, municipal supplies, and domestic use in parts of far western and far eastern Nebraska.

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Modern Manure Management Video

Have you ever wondered how technology is being used in modern manure management? Find out with the University of Nebraska's "Modern Manure Management" Video.

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Wastewater - What Is It?

Wastewater comes from ordinary living processes: bathing, toilet flushing, laundry, dishwashing, etc. It comes from residential and domestic sources.

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Soil Management for Water Conservation

Improved water infiltration, less runoff and reduced evaporative losses in no-till systems can save from 5 to 12 inches per year, making more water available for crop production. The tilled grain sorghum on the right yielded only 61 bu/A in a dry year while the no-till on the left yielded about 121 bu/A.

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Residue Management

The tilled plots in the foreground of this photo had considerable soil loss and runoff during intense spring rains. The tilled soil surface was susceptible to raindrop impact, causing erosion and surface crusting. The crop residue on the no-till plots in the background absorbed raindrop impact and allowed more water to infiltrate into the soil. With the improved soil structure, the crop is healthier in the no-till.

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Soil Biological Life

While tillage has been used to prepare a seedbed, it also destroys the existing root structures in the soil and some of the soil's biological life. Without this biological life, soil structure suffers and many of the nutrients are not as available for crop uptake.

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Soil Structure

Soil is much more than the individual particles of sand, silt, and clay. Ideally, the soil should be one-half solid materials (sand, silt, clay, nutrients, minerals, organic materials, and biological life) and one-half pore space (half of that containing water and the other half being air space). Biological life and organic matter provide the "glues" to create soil aggregates, forming soil structure.

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Tillage Concepts

Tillage of the soil has been used to prepare a seedbed, kill weeds, incorporate nutrients, and manage crop residues. The goal of the tillage system has been to provide a proper environment for seed germination and root growth for crop production.

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