Water Sources

Water Sources
Groundwater map of Nebraska


Groundwater is vital to the “Good Life” in Nebraska. It maintains our agricultural economy, supplies water to streams and lakes, and provides drinking water to municipalities and rural households. Nebraskans pump groundwater out of the High Plains aquifer and many other aquifers across the state. The vast majority of groundwater is used for agricultural production.

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Water flowing into a storm drain

Stormwater Management

Stormwater is water from rain and melting snow and ice. Stormwater can soak into the soil (infiltrate), be held on the surface and evaporate, or run off and end up in a nearby stream, river, or other water body. Before land is developed with buildings, roadways, and agriculture, the majority of stormwater soaks into the soil or evaporates.

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Man fishing at sunset

Lakes, Ponds & Streams

Water quality protection practices properly implemented on the landscape can reduce or eliminate overland runoff water. Pollutants associated with that runoff water will enter lakes, ponds and streams.

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Panorama of a lake with lilypads


Everyone lives in a watershed. A watershed is the land area that contributes water to a location, usually a stream, pond, lake or river. Everything that we do on the surface of our watershed impacts the water quality of our streams, wetlands, ponds, lakes and rivers. What happens in one locality affects other downstream areas.

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View of the Platte River from above

Nitrate in Nebraska

Nitrogen is a valuable fertilizer source that keeps Nebraska growing abundant landscapes and crops. Nitrogen that does not get used by the crop ends up in our streams, lakes and groundwater. Nitrate is the most common form of nitrogen found in water.

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