US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Sniegocki, Richard Ted, 1922. Geologic and ground-water reconnaissance of the Loup River drainage basin, Nebraska. With a section on Chemical quality of the water, by R. H. Langford. Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1959.


U.S. government work


The Loup River and its tributaries drain an area of about 15,230 square miles in central Nebraska. The upper three-fifths of the drainage basin is in the Sand Hills region of Nebraska, and the lower two-fifths is in the loess plains and hills region. An eastward-thinning wedge of semiconsolidated and unconsolidated deposits of Tertiary and Quaternary age underlies the surficial dune sand and loess. These deposits, which are recharged by infiltrating precipitation, contain a tremendous volume of water at least 400 million acre-feet and annually discharge about 1.7 million acre-feet into streams. Although wells supply nearly all the water used in the area for municipal, rural domestic, and livestock requirements, and some of the water used for irrigation, the withdrawals are small compared to the yield that the ground-water reservoir is capable of sustaining. Moreover, it seems unlikely that withdrawals ever will equal the potential for ground-water development except, perhaps, locally. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has prepared plans for greater utilization of the surface-water resources of the basin overland runoff and ground-water discharge into streams for generation of hydroelectric power and irrigation of farmland both within the basin and in the adjacent lower Platte River valley. The chemical characteristics of the ground and surface water are uniform. The water is of the calcium bicarbonate type, generally contains less than about 500 parts per million of dissolved solids, and is suitable for irrigation and most domestic uses.