About NeDNR

Click here to search.

About the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources

Finding a balance between competing demands is a key to Nebraska‛s resource future. Assessing impacts of alternative soil and water management options requires an understanding of complex issues and substantial amounts of reliable data. The Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (NeDNR) is committed to providing Nebraska‛s citizens and leaders with the data and analyses they need to make wise resource decisions for the benefit of all Nebraskans both now and in the future. The NeDNR is a State agency with responsibilities in the areas of:

  • Surface Water
  • Groundwater
  • Floodplain Management
  • Dam Safety
  • Natural Resources Planning
  • Water Planning and Integrated Management
  • Storage of Natural Resources and Related Data
  • Administration of State Funds


  • State law requires that all new wells drilled in the state must be properly registered with NeDNR.
  • Permits are required to transfer groundwater off overlaying land for large industrial uses, geothermal uses, out-of-state uses and water well spacing requirement violations.
  • NeDNR is responsible for approving or denying municipal and rural domestic transfer permits.
  • NeDNR maintains records on all the above.

Visit the Groundwater Section

Surface Water

  • NeDNR has jurisdiction over matters pertaining to surface water rights for storage, irrigation, hydropower, manufacturing, diversions, instream flows and other beneficial uses.
  • Anyone wishing to divert the waters of a natural stream or lake must first get a permit or water right from the NeDNR.
  • NeDNR is also responsible for the collection of and reporting of flow data for streams, canal and pump diversions and storage data for reservoirs. Published annually, this information can also be found at the agency's homepage.
  • NeDNR represents Nebraska’s interests on interstate water compacts and decrees.

Visit the Surface Water Section

Water Planning

When a river basin or portion of a river basin is determined to be fully appropriated or declared overappropriated, NeDNR and the affected NRDs must work cooperatively to develop an integrated management plan for that specific area. NeDNR provides groundwater modeling and the development of modeling tools for studying surface water/groundwater interactions and impacts of water uses. This information is used in the preparation of the Annual Evaluation of Availability of Hydrologically Connected Water Supplies Report required by state law.

Visit the Water Planning Section

Floodplain Management / Dam Safety

  • NeDNR is responsible for a non-structural program of floodplain management including the delineation of floodplains and providing technical assistance on floodplain management to local units of government.
  • The NeDNR is charged with the responsibility for coordination and assistance with the National Flood Insurance Program and the Flood Mitigation Assistance Program.
  • The agency reviews and approves engineering plans for new dams, the rehabilitation of old dams and emergency preparedness plans for all dams classified as high hazard. An inventory of these dams and their field inspections are maintained.

Visit the Floodplain Management Section
Visit the Dam Safety Section

Planning Assistance

  • The NeDNR provides technical and policy information to help Nebraskans make sound soil and water resources management decisions.
  • Participates in numerous state, inter-state and local studies, development of planning related databases, and guidance of the State Water Planning and Review Process.
  • Provides local units of government with requested assistance in natural resources planning and management responsibilities.
  • Responsible for the maintenance and update of spatial dataset of surface water features. (National Hydrography Dataset)

Water is our most-precious natural resource.
It helps us to grow crops, raise livestock, sustain life, work, and have fun.

Each day throughout the State of Nebraska, many people are working to find new ways to manage our ground and surface water, so all Nebraskans can live the good life today and tomorrow.

NeDNR Education Resources

Managing our water sources is a complicated matter. This single water drop shows the diverse agencies and organizations involved in the preservation of our most-precious natural resource: water.

Water Drop

Need further information?

Contact the Division

Get email & text updates.

Sign Up