Summit Focuses on Dwindling Water in Ogallala Aquifer
KSCB News - July 21, 2011 5:57 am
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) – In the parched fields of western Kansas,
the fate of the region’s economic future may lie deep underground
in the dwindling Ogallala aquifer.
On Thursday, farmers and politicians gather in Colby for an
economic forum hosted by Gov. Sam Brownback on how to extend the
Roughly 94 percent of the groundwater is used for irrigation,
which supports livestock, meatpacking, ethanol and other
The aquifer’s decline had slowed since the 1960s. But it
accelerated again after 2000 when another drought cycle hit western
Kansas. Farmers began pumping more out.
In southwest Kansas, tests in January showed the aquifer had
dropped more than 5 feet in some places in a single year. The
aquifer generally recharges only a half-inch a year.