Report Shows Groundwater Levels Rose in Early 2020

April 9, 2021, 2:10 p.m. ·

Nebraska received so much more precipitation from January 2019 to January 2020 that a new color, purple, was added to one of the maps included in the recently released 2020 Nebraska Groundwater-Level Monitoring Report (Photo Courtesy).

2019 to 2020 was the third wettest year in Nebraska. Groundwater levels significantly rose in early 2020, according to the 2020 Nebraska Groundwater-Level Monitoring Report.

Aaron Young is a geologist with the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s School of Natural Resources and lead author of the report. He said Cherry County had 212% more rainfall compared to the 30-year normal. They had to add some changes to the precipitation map.

"This year, we ran out of shades of blue to actually make the map," he said. "We had to actually add one more color. So we had to go from blue to purple to cover that 200 to 220% mapping unit."

The report said rain, snow and ice from 2019 increased well measurements by an average of 1.58 feet statewide.

Young said the rise alleviates the decline of ground water level over the last 10 years.

"So we have more water. We don't need as much of that water for our crops," he said. "Basically, that leaves us in a spot that for agriculture for irrigation, we're doing better than some of our southern states are."

Read the full report here and explore interactive data maps.