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Innovations in Integrated Water Management: A Nebraska Case Study: September 20, 2023

Event Date
September 20, 2023
Event Time
10:00 am - 11:00 am

Jennifer Schellpeper, Water Planning Division Manager with the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, provided an overview of the integrated water management approach the state of Nebraska implemented, which integrates planning for hydrologically connected groundwater and surface water. The presentation also highlighted how drought planning is incorporated into the integrated water management plans and showcased resources and tools Nebraska water managers use for decision-making in various river basins across the state.

For more information, please contact Molly Woloszyn (


Welcome to the Midwest and Missouri River Basin DEWS Webinar

Speaker: Molly Woloszyn, NOAA's National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), CU Boulder/Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES)

  • NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) was created by Congress in 2006 with a mandate to help the nation prepare for, mitigate, and respond to the effects of drought. NIDIS does this through a series of activities, including the development of regional drought early warning systems and support to improve drought predictions and forecasting, enable effective drought planning and preparedness, and assess the impacts of drought. 
  • Introduction of today's speaker: Jennifer Schellpeper.



 Innovations in Integrated Water Management: A Nebraska Case Study

Speaker: Jennifer Schellpeper, Nebraska Department of Natural Resources

  • Integrated water management (the management of hydrologically surface water and groundwater together) was established by law in 2002. Surface water is regulated by the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and groundwater is regulated by Natural Resource Districts (NRD) in the state. The law told them to work together to manage for today and the future.
  • Some keys to success for Nebraska’s integrated management include: 
    • The tiered approach:
      • The integrated water management plans must keep the state in compliance with interstate agreements, compacts, and decrees.
      • River basin approach, which includes multiple NRDs and the Nebraska DNR.
      • Local control where regulation happens, with individual integrated management plans (IMPs) with each single NRD and the Nebraska DNR.
    • Political boundaries for this work align with resource area boundaries (watersheds).
    • Decentralized control focuses on local needs and conditions.
    • Broad stakeholder engagement throughout the multi-year planning process.
  • There are three goals for any IMP: protect existing users, meet interstate compliance obligations, and ensure short- and long-term balance of water supplies.
  • IMPs incorporate a variety of data, like a streamgage network managed by the Nebraska DNR and U.S. Geological Survey and groundwater observation well data managed by the NRDs. Also, the Nebraska DNR hosts the INSIGHT tool on its website to track all data.
  • IMPs have addressed drought by developing special plans and dashboards:



Q&A and Closing

Moderator: Molly Woloszyn, NOAA/NIDIS, CU Boulder/CIRES