Water Resources of the United States
Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2012 16:53:04 EDT
Summary: Drought conditions have remained significant across Nebraska over the past week. The U.S. Drought Monitor has categorized almost three-quarters of Nebraska as being in the Exceptional drought category. USGS crews have continued to provide additional time and effort in monitoring low flows, acquiring GZFs (gage heights of zero-flow), and streamgage maintenance activities.
Summary of Event Impact:
Drought conditions have remained significant across Nebraska over the past week. The U.S. Drought Monitor has categorized almost three-quarters of Nebraska as being in the Exceptional drought category. USGS crews have continued to provide additional time and effort in monitoring low flows, acquiring GZFs (gage heights of zero-flow), and streamgage maintenance activities.
The U.S. Drought Monitor currently shows 100 percent of the state in Severe drought, with 98 percent of the state in Extreme drought status, and 71 percent in the Exceptional status category. These conditions were unchanged from last week.
Seventeen USGS streamgages in Nebraska are at zero flow. Of 60 long-term USGS streamgages (>30 years record) in Nebraska, 11 (or 18 percent) are at no flow (a slight decrease from last week). 28 percent of the long-term gages are equal to or exceed the 7-day low-flow average record for Nebraska (an increase from last week). Flow is returning to the dry sections of the Platte River as surface-water irrigation demands are reduced due to the end of the growing season.
The eastern one-third of Nebraska received 1-2 inches of rain last night. A tenth to two inches of rain fell across the state over the past seven days. Throughout the state, more than two dozen public water systems are restricting water use because of water-level decreases. Nearly 50 more are restricting water use as a preventive measure. Most are in the eastern half of the state, away from access to the Ogallala Aquifer. Restrictions range from voluntary every-other-day lawn watering to mandatory bans on any outside water use.
Four USGS NEWSC field crews continued to make additional low-flow measurements, extend and repair pressure lines, and verify GZFs at more than 10 streamgages and made 10 extra streamflow measurements during the past week (about 237 extra measurements over the past 9 weeks). Crews are currently making one measurement per week at the Elkhorn River at Waterloo, Platte River at Ashland, Platte River at Venice, and Platte River at Louisville with increased frequency of visits to the Platte River at Duncan, North Bend, and Overton and the Loup River at Genoa, all key forecast points for Omaha and Lincoln Municipal Water Systems. Lincoln and Omaha get most of their drinking water from well fields in and adjacent to the lower Platte River and depend upon adequate streamflow in the river for their supply.
NEWSC has completed one additional low-end rating extension this past week for a total of 35 across the state in the past 9 weeks.
GroundwaterWatch shows more than half of the Nebraska real-time groundwater observation wells in the Below Normal, Much Below Normal, or Low (new low) categories. The GroundwaterWatch water-level network readings were mostly completed in the spring before the onset of the drought. Because of decreased irrigation and the rains over the past day (both causing more flow in the Platte River), the City of Lincoln announced today that they will be lifting their mandatory water restrictions. USGS crews continue to take weekly groundwater-level readings (typically monthly) at about 20 wells for the City of Lincoln. Several Natural Resources Districts (NRDs) are reporting that some domestic wells and irrigation wells are going dry and are concerned about municipal supplies. One Native American Tribe has also reported dry domestic wells. One NRD is providing emergency assistance to homeowners with well repairs and replacements, or providing drinking water. Several communities are also reporting domestic water-supply problems.
The Center continues normal operation of a network of stream-temperature stations, and several multi-parameter water-quality stations. In the past week, no water-quality issues have arisen that differ from previous updates.
Communications and Outreach:
The NEWSC drought page has been updated and expanded at http://ne.water.usgs.gov/drought/. A drought information message has been created and provided to all field staff to provide USGS information to the public and for media requests. USGS staff have answered numerous media requests for drought information to date (none within the past week). A WWW page is available. The URL is: http://ne.water.usgs.gov/drought/ Twitter. @USGSNeb No news release is planned, but we have been using our landing page of http://ne.water.usgs.gov to provide updates and link to the drought page. We are also using Twitter to post drought photos and facts as available. OK to post on Web: yes
A WWW page is available, the URL is: http://ne.water.usgs.gov/drought/ A News release is planned. It will be emailed to GS-W_Project_Alert@usgs.gov.
Rachael Hoagland (firstname.lastname@example.org) 402.328.4190
Sub-Region: Midwest; Region: Central United States
Sub-Region: Midwest; Region: Central United States