Environmental Studies Program


Date of this Version

Spring 2016


Environmental Studies Undergraduate Student Thesis, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, 2016


Copyright © 2016 Jordan Shields


This study uses publicly available data (1934 to 2015) from several online sources relating to groundwater levels, bedrock depth, and annual precipitation from six wells located near Hastings, Nebraska. Traditionally, groundwater levels are presented in reports that show changes in terms of feet gained or lost. An alternative method employed in this study assesses variations in groundwater supply and availability using total saturated thickness of the groundwater system in terms of a percentage change in saturated thickness. This method represents groundwater resources in the context of the quantity available as opposed to the traditional method of changes in terms of feet gained or lost. Findings suggest that prior to predevelopment (before 1960’s), percent change of saturated thickness remained negligible and during increased irrigation development (1960’s-1980) there was a steady decrease in percent change of saturated thickness. After 1980 groundwater levels equilibrated and oscillated around a potentially new equilibrium that was responsive to changes in the amount of precipitation.