Residential Water Use Water & Health

Water and Health

Groundwater, like the High Plains Aquifer, is used to provide drinking water for many Nebraskans across the entire state. Unfortunately, groundwater is vulnerable to contamination. Human activity, such as conducting certain agricultural practices, can negatively impact the groundwater quality, therefore impacting the quality of water many Nebraskans are drinking. Drinking contaminated water is a major health risk.

Impacts: The following are the strongest linked health impacts of drinking contaminated water

  • Methemoglobinemia (Blue-baby syndrome)
  • Preterm birth issues
  • Birth defects
  • Pediatric cancers
  • Adult cancers

100 years of Nebraska nitrogen

Nitrogen is an essential plant nutrient but increasingly found in our water. Here is a brief history:

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Nebraska Water Facts

Nebraska means “flat water” from the Omaha Sioux “ni braska” and Oto “ni brathge”/ Nebraskier describing the Platte River. The Platte River was named by early French explorers, also meaning “flat.” The Panhandle is almost 6.5 times higher elevation than the Southeast. (5,424 ft above sea level versus 840 ft). Southeast NE receives 2.5 times as much annual precipitation as the Panhandle (average 33” versus 13”).

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Know Your Well program empowers students to understand local water quality

Access to quality water is critical. Testing can indicate whether water is safe for people to consume. Know Your Well is a program used to test well water across Nebraska at no cost to the community, while teaching local high school students valuable skills.

In the past seven years, Know Your Well has been implemented in more than 28 school districts throughout the state. The program has received funding to grow to 50 or more schools over the next few years and expand its curriculm.

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Nebraska Water Center Researchers Conduct Statewide Project to Characterize Nitrogen Transformation Beneath the Ground Surface

How nitrogen moves and is changed in the soil is important to help protect Nebraska's groundwater from contamination. However, these changes are not fully understood. To help understand these processes, a research team led by Dr. Arindam Malakar, scientist and research assistant professor in the School of Natural Resources and the Nebraska Water Center part of the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has begun a statewide study to uncover nitrogen transformation in the vadose zone.

Continue reading about their project across Nebraska.

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May is the Perfect Time to Learn More about Your Drinking Water!

Water is life! In Nebraska, approximately 85 percent of people receive their drinking water from groundwater resources. This includes individual homeowners living in suburban and rural areas, as well as the majority of towns and cities across the state. Because of Nebraska’s relative wealth of groundwater resources, we often tend to overlook the vital role water plays in the everyday lives of Nebraskans and our state as a whole.

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