Mich. State scientists say Ogallala aquifer may have dry future

By on December 19, 2013

Ogallala aquifer (Credit: Kbh3rd, via Wikimedia Commons)

Scientists at Michigan State University say that the Ogallala Aquifer is at risk of drying up if current withdraw rates persist, according to a study published in the journal Earth’s Future. The aquifer spans from Texas to South Dakota and provides much of the water needed for the Southwest U.S.

The MSU scientists, who work for the school’s global water initiative, offer some ways to reverse the drawdown. They say that federal crop insurance could be changed to allow for reductions in amounts of water withdrawn by farmers. Upgrading irrigation systems to be more efficient could also help.

More precise agriculture techniques, including defined crop management zones, could help farmers track the amounts of water and fertilizer they use. The scientists say this would reduce the environmental impacts that farms have while increasing their profitability.

Image: Ogallala aquifer (Credit: Kbh3rd, via Wikimedia Commons)

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