Ogallala (High Plains) Aquifer has dropped 9% in 60 years

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From the Houston Chronicle: “The U.S. Geological Survey says in a report issued Tuesday that by 2007, the aquifer has dropped a foot on average in Nebraska since the early 1950s…The aquifer supplies about 30 percent of the nation’s groundwater used for irrigation. And the USGS says the aquifer provides drinking water to more than 80 percent of the people who live above it.”

From the McCook Daily Gazette:

…it’s easy to forget just how big, and important, the aquifer is, and to take it for granted. Covering 174,000 square miles under Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming, The High Plains Aquifer is the primary source of drinking water for most of us and provides the life-giving liquid that makes one fourth of the United States agricultural production possible. Although extensive irrigation has caused the aquifer to decline, some of the same technology that made irrigation possible, such as the highly efficient systems produced by Valmont right here in McCook, is making the most efficient use of the valuable resource of water.

A complete copy of the report is available at http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2009/5019/ and an abbreviated version is at http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2009/3005/

More coverage from the Omaha World-Herald:

The total amount of drainable water in the aquifer in 2007 was about 2.9 billion acre-feet, a decline of about 270 million acre-feet since before development, the U.S. Geological Survey said in a report Tuesday…The High Plains aquifer, also popularly known as the Ogallala Aquifer, is a nationally important water resource that likes under some 174,000 square miles in parts of eight western states—Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

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