Aquifer Threatened By Irrigation

Spencer, IA: If current irrigation trends continue, 69 percent of the groundwater stored in the High Plains Aquifer of Kansas will be depleted in 50 years. That’s the stand-out conclusion of a new study done at Kansas State University.

The study investigated the future availability of groundwater in the Ogallala Aquifer, and how reducing use would affect cattle and crops. The aquifer supplies 30 percent of the nation’s irrigated groundwater and serves as the most agriculturally important irrigation in Kansas.

The study asserted that immediately reducing water use could extend the aquifer’s lifetime and increase net agricultural production through the year 2110.

Study author David Steward said, “The main idea is that if we’re able to save water today, it will result in a substantial increase in the number of years that we will have irrigated agriculture in Kansas.”