Less Than Zero
Abrahm Lustgarten

Nebraska has been progressive in this area (recognizing and planning for/managing hydrologically connected waters) for many years now. In 2004, the state Legislature passed LB962, which allows the state Department of Natural Resources (which administers surface water rights in the state) to work with the local natural resource districts (which manage groundwater use in the state) in developing integrated water management plans in areas of the state where supplies of hydrologically connected waters are constrained. The law is not perfect and there is a lot of work that goes into developing, testing, and running complicated groundwater models and with working with the public in developing integrated water management plans. But at least it moves the science forward in helping to understand the resource and engages a broad cross-section of the public to help define value and determine how water resources in the state are managed. For a brief guide to the law and how the process is managed, see: http://dnr.nebraska.gov/iwm/water-matters-1