The Department of Natural Resources is authorized to measure and monitor the water flowing in Nebraska’s streams, rivers, and canals. For this purpose, the Department has established a Streamgaging Program. Through this program, the Department operates and maintains a streamgaging network comprised of more than 250 gaging sites. The network includes continuous stream and reservoir gages, partial year gages, canal gages, canal return flow gages, and miscellaneous spot measurements. The core network consists of approximately 110 continuous streamgages and 120 canal gages.
Activities within the Streamgaging Program are primarily carried out by the Streamgaging Section and the Department's five field offices. The Streamgaging Section is repsonsible for the overall administration and coordination of the Streamgaging Program. This includes overseeing data collection, managing hydrological data, publishing streamgaging records, disseminating data, and ensuring quality control standards are met. The Streamgaging Section works in close conjunction with the five field offices. The field offices are primarily responsible for making streamgaging measurements, for operating and maintaining streamgaging stations and equipment, and for assisting with processing and reviewing the data collected within their jurisdictional area.
The Department uses the data collected from streamgaging stations and measurement sites to make informed decisions regarding the wise and proper use of Nebraska’s water resources. This includes administering water rights, issuing permits, studying surface water/groundwater interactions, modeling floodplains, quantifying water supplies and uses, calibrating groundwater models, complying with interstate compacts, and planning for future water demands.