Study urges more conservation of water in Ogallala Aquifer

Where Has All The Water Gone? - Ogallala Aquifer Depletion - Modern Farmer


The Ogallala Aquifer that runs through the Oklahoma Panhandle was the subject of a Kansas Geological Survey report that indicated groundwater levels could be sustained for at least one decade by reducing pumping up to 32%.

The big question is—how to accomplish such a reduction?

“Our results show that the only way to slow water-level declines is to reduce pumping in conjunction with modification of agricultural practices,” said Jim Butler, KGS senior scientist and one of the report’s co-authors.

“As has been shown in Kansas and elsewhere, efficient irrigation technology must be coupled with a binding agreement to reduce pumping if we are to make a difference.”

The aquifer, that runs through 8 states from South Dakota to Texas, and of course through the Oklahoma Panhandle is facing lower water levels. For years, farmers in some of the states faced state orders to lower their use for irrigation purposes.

The conservation practices were adopted when groundwater in the Ogallala dropped significantly as irrigation of cropland took hold in the 1940s reported the Kansas Reflector.

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