Columbus Recharge Project helps mitigate declining water levels

Celebrating 50 years of NRDs
How the Lower Loup NRD mitigated declining water levels in the Columbus area.
Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 4:29 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Throughout 2022, Nebraska’s Natural Resource Districts will celebrate 50 years of protecting lives, property and the future by commemorating their breakthroughs and achievements in conservation.

A project that the Lower Loup NRD is pretty proud of is happening near a subdivision called “Christopher’s Cove” in Columbus. The project started in 2010, when NRD technicians noticed water levels in that area dropping.

The groundwater levels had dropped as a result of a successful flood control project to divert Lost Creek around Columbus. That effort worked. Basements stayed dry, but the groundwater levels dropped.

The NRD could have used regulatory authority to mandate that people use less water. Instead, a recharge project was developed to take water from the Loup Power District’s Tailrace Canal, intercept it after power generation, and pump it to a shallow well.

The recharge project was developed by Lower Loup NRD in partnership with Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), the City of Columbus, Platte County and Christopher’s Cove Homeowner’s Association.

Nebraska’s Natural Resource Districts officially began in July of 1972, and on July 11, Gov. Pete Ricketts will sign a proclamation declaring July 11-15 as “NRD Week”.

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