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Approval of Dams

Before constructing, reconstructing, enlarging, altering, breaching, removing, or abandoning any dam in Nebraska, the Dam Owner must obtain the approval of the Department.   Also, every owner of a dam subject to the Safety of Dams and Reservoirs Act and not previously approved by the Department must file an application with the Department for approval of the dam.

A dam is defined as any artificial barrier with the ability to impound water or liquid-borne materials.  Department approval is required when the dam has a total height of 25 feet or more, or the dam has an impounding capacity at the top of dam of 50 acre-feet or more.

A storage permit is required if the dam has an impounding capacity of more than 15 acre-feet below the lowest open overflow or the water in the reservoir will be pumped or released for a beneficial purpose. See Surface Water Rights for more information.

Application for Approval of Plans for Dams
To receive Department approval, an application accompanied with engineering plans must be submitted.

Certifications for Plans
Plans submitted to the Department must include an applicant’s and an engineer’s certification.

Construction Certification
Upon completion of a project, the owner must file with the Department a construction certification form.

Plans for Farm Pond Dams Constructed Before 2005
For farm pond dams constructed before September 4, 2005 and not previously approved, this two page form - to be completed by an engineer - may be submitted as plans.

Permit to Impound Water
If the reservoir will impound more than 15 acre-feet below the lowest open overflow, a Permit to Impound Water is required. See Surface Water Rights for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Need a Storage Permit?

Do I Need Dam Safety Approval?

Typical Dam Configuration