Nebraska's central location means that it is drained by several important river systems.
The Platte River
The Platte River is one of Nebraska's most significant rivers, providing water for irrigation and hydroelectric power. It begins in the Rocky Mountains and flows across Nebraska before joining the Missouri River on the state's eastern border.
The Niobrara River
The Niobrara River runs through northern Nebraska and is an important tributary of the Missouri River. It is best known for its waterfalls and scenic canyons. The Niobrara is popular for recreational floating and trout fishing.
The Republican River
The Republican River starts in Colorado and flows through southwestern Nebraska. It has been a source of water conflicts with neighboring states because of the strain on its watershed.
Nebraska has many man-made lakes and reservoirs that provide irrigation, flood control, and recreation.
Lake McConaughy is Nebraska's largest lake at over 30,000 acres. It was created by damming the Platte River and provides irrigation water and hydroelectric power generation.
Harlan County Lake
Harlan County Lake in south-central Nebraska is used for irrigation, flood control, and recreation like boating and fishing.
Sherman Reservoir in central Nebraska is smaller but hosts a state recreation area that attracts many visitors for its beaches, trails, and fishing access.
Protecting the quality and managing the usage of Nebraska's critical water resources will continue to be an important environmental issue.