Platte River Decision Support System
Helping Nebraska capture excess stream flows for storage and groundwater recharge to increase future water availability and reduce additional regulatory controls.
The Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (NeDNR) has surface-water, groundwater, floodplain management as well as natural-resources planning responsibilities. As a part of its mission, the NeDNR permits and manages water use along the Platte River, which flows from Wyoming and Colorado in the west and moves east across the state to join the Missouri River at the border. The NeDNR also balances water rights and other economic implications with in-stream and adjacent habitat requirements.
RESPEC and our partners began work with the NeDNR by conducting a 5-day project Design Sprint to support their staff in designing a clear vision for a Decision Support System (DSS) to track excess flows along the Platte River in Nebraska—one of the most overused and endangered rivers in the US. A storyboard and web-based InVision prototype were developed during the Design Sprint. The prototype was tested with potential users on the last day of our session. Our team then developed an automated daily excess flow calculation engine and a C# .NET/Angular application that provides results in dynamic and intuitive tables, maps, and charts.
We have continued our work in developing a new permit application system for excess flow in which the State of Nebraska’s partners can document the operating plans for using excess flow (if granted) and how water diversion could impact the State’s water resource interests through groundwater recharge and storage for accretions back to the Platte River. The completed system will fully facilitate the NeDNR’s ability to make daily decisions and call or end an excess flow event for allocating water to select projects based on current administrative goals for river segments represented in the DSS.