The Lower Loup Natural Resources District will continue to pursue funding for a drought study.
LLNRD Information and Education Coordinator Larry Schultz told the Kearney Hub a grant was sought from the Nebraska Water Sustainability Fund for $52,260 of the estimated $92,000 total cost.
He said the LLNRD request was the highest ranked proposal that was not funded in the most recent grant approval round.
At Thursday’s board meeting in Ord, the Water Resources Committee recommended that NRD staff look into other funding options. Schultz said they likely will include the Nebraska Environmental Trust and federal agencies.
The goal for the district — it includes northern Buffalo County, all of Sherman County and most of Custer County — is to have a plan in place for severe drought years such as seen in 2002 and 2012. Schultz said several surrounding NRDs, including Central Platte, have completed similar studies.
Also at Thursday’s LLNRD board meeting, the 2018 Water Quality Report was reviewed.
Schultz said the area of major concern for high nitrate levels in groundwater is from south of Palmer to Columbus. It is under Phase Three NRD rules and has average nitrate levels of 18.8 parts per million. That compares to the 10 ppm considered by the federal Environmental Protection Agency as the maximum for safe drinking water.