Farmers drawing groundwater from Ogallala Aquifer faster than nature replaces it

Every summer the U.S. Central Plains go dry, leading farmers to tap into groundwater to irrigate sorghum, soy, cotton, wheat and corn and maintain large herds of cattle and hogs. As the heat rises, anxious irrigators gather to discuss whether and how they should adopt more stringent conservation measures.

They know that if they do not conserve, the Ogallala Aquifer, the source of their prosperity, will go dry.

The Ogallala, also known as the High Plains Aquifer, is one of the largest underground freshwater sources in the world. It underlies an estimated 174,000 square miles of the Central Plains and holds as much water as Lake Huron. It irrigates portions of eight states, from Wyoming, South Dakota and Nebraska in the north to Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas in the south.

But the current drought plaguing the region is unusually strong and persistent, driving farmers to rely more on the aquifer and sharpening the debate over its future. A current assessment by the U.S. Drought Monitor, published by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, shows large swaths of the southern plains experiencing drought ranging […]

More about the Ogallala Aquifer and aquifer ecology:

Paper presents changes in Ogallala Aquifer groundwater quality

Scientists on Causes of High Radium Levels in Key Midwestern Aquifer

Idaho on pace to set aquifer recharge record during 2017–18 season

Controversial groundwater withdrawal sparks question of who owns South Carolina water

Summary
Farmers drawing groundwater from Ogallala Aquifer faster than nature replaces it
Article Name
Farmers drawing groundwater from Ogallala Aquifer faster than nature replaces it
Description
As heat rises, farm irrigators debate more-stringent agricultural water conservation. They know, if they do not conserve, the Ogallala Aquifer will go dry.
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Publisher Name
The Conversation
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