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Advanced Aquifer Monitoring System

Twin Platte Natural Resources District (TPNRD) received a $249,990 grant from the Nebraska Water Sustainability Fund to help fund the TPNRD Advanced Aquifer Monitoring System. This new system will use 135 sites currently measured for ground water levels (62 existing irrigation wells and 73 existing monitoring wells). This will provide for the continuous collection of ground water levels using real time data throughout the TPNRD . Not only will this system provide additional dedicated monitoring wells for TPNRD, but will also utilize cutting edge technology that will provide real time continuous data.

How will it work?

The data will be collected using water level sensors that will be connected to a LoRaWAN wireless network. TPNRD has had a ground water monitoring program in place since the 1980s and has gathered data only in the Spring and Fall. With this new system, TPNRD will be able to monitor the aquifer’s seasonal fluctuation, in real time. Many wells, that the data has been collected from in the past, are active irrigation wells. These active wells have pumping equipment installed which can present measuring obstacles and limitations.   These new dedicated monitoring wells, along with the currently installed dedicated monitoring wells, will be equipped with water level sensors and wireless transmitters.

How did this new system start?

In early 2019, TPNRD launched the Water Data Program. This program was put in place as a result of the second increment of the Integrated Management Plan (IMP); a plan created to reduce ground water use and “put water back in the river.” The goal of the TPNRD Water Data Program is to create a cost efficient and technologically advanced tool for the grower to help track their ground water use. TPNRD is collaborating with Paige Wireless, who has provided the LoRaWAN network for the flow meter validation component of the Water Data Program. The Advanced Aquifer Monitoring System is an expansion of the Water Data Program. The data that will be provided from both the Water Data Program and the Advanced Aquifer Monitoring System will allow for a significant understanding of ground water use.

Glen Bowers, the TPNRD Water Programs Field Coordinator finishes the measuring of a well and cleans the fiberglass tape before reeling it up. The TPNRD staff must drive out to 135 sites twice a year and take levels using this fiberglass tape to read the water levels. The new Advanced Aquifer System will provide a plethora of real time data, year round.