Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



USGS Water-Supply Paper 779


275 pp.


The investigation here reported, which covered a period of about 5 years, 1929 to 1933, was made for the purpose of determining the available supply of ground water in south-central Nebraska, the origin and discharge of the ground water, and the relation of the geologic and ground-water conditions in the Platte River Valley to the conditions occurring under the plains to the south. The area was found to be underlain by permeable Pleistocene and Tertiary sand .and gravel, much of which is saturated and yields relatively large quantities of water to wells. Except in a few isolated places the ground-water supply is abundant. The Pleistocene and Tertiary formations were found in many places to be continuous across the area, but they thin out and disappear near the southern and southeastern boundary of the area. A part of the ground water occurring in south-central Nebraska percolates into the area from the sand-hill region of north-central Nebraska through the permeable water-bearing formations. Ground water is also derived from precipitation on the area and from seepage from streams entering the area from the west and northwest. Some of the ground water of the area is discharged into streams, especially in the southern and eastern parts of the area, and some ground water is used by plants, chiefly in the valleys of the streams. Almost all the public, domestic, industrial, and stock water supplies of the area are derived from wells, and in the Platte River Valley about 800 wells are used for irrigation. There are also irrigation wells in the valleys of other streams, and a few irrigation wells have been drilled on the plains.

The investigation leads to the conclusion that for most parts of the area the ground-water supply is ample to furnish the present needs. Evidence indicates "that further development of irrigation with water pumped from wells can be made in the Platte Valley and in some of the valleys of the smaller streams. Additional irrigation wells can be drilled on the plains to the south, but because the ground-water supply in that area is limited chiefly to percolation from the Platte Valley, the development of large irrigation projects depending on wells is not feasible.