WATER, PEOPLE, AND INFORMATION: CHALLENGES IN GEOLOGICAL SURVEY IN NEBRASKA
Nebraskas water issues present great communication challenges. Much of the population is highly misinformed of the basic nature of the hydrologic cycle, particularly the surface water-groundwater relationship. Attitudinal barriers, stemming from the highly emotional nature of water issues, retard educational efforts. There is also a growing disparity between the competing water interests represented by urban eastern Nebraska (three counties contain about two-thirds of the states total population) and the remainder of the state. Furthermore, there are major misconceptions about the economic value of groundwater and the practicability of its use. For example, groundwater sales to the Denver area have been proposed even though calculations prove such an endeavor to be uneconomical. Finally, despite decades of geological research at CSD, existing information may be inadequate or insufficiently integrated to meet needs or currently-perceived demands. Recent legislation (Nebraska LB 962) has called for annual assessments of river basins in the state, with the intent of underscoring the interconnectedness of surface water and groundwater. These points defend an ongoing survey mission in Nebraska, but also suggest the need for an evolution and refinement of water-related survey activities, particularly in terms of data analysis, information dissemination (including the use of electronic venues), and initiative-driven problem-solving.