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Groundwater decline in Nebraska in 2013 ‘unprecedented’

February 9, 2014

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By Joe Duggan

Groundwater in Nebraska dropped by “unprecedented” levels last year as farmers stepped up irrigation in response to record drought and heat in 2012.

Underground water tables declined in 90 of the state’s 93 counties between spring 2012 and spring 2013, said Aaron Young, groundwater resources coordinator for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Aquifers dropped 2.5 feet on average.

“An average one-year decline of this magnitude has never been recorded before in the state,” Young said Wednesday, referring to groundwater monitoring that has been done since 1930.

Dean Edson, director of the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts, cautioned that one year of data does not signal a water crisis.

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