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Ogallala Aquifer

Purpose

To protect the Ogallala Aquifer and retain the economic integrity of the Southern Great Plains region, including the Texas High plains, and portions of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas, and Colorado, all states that are dependent on the survival of the Ogallala Aquifer. These efforts are aimed at developing innovative conservation measures for the Ogallala Aquifer resource through a multi-state, university, and federal program. The collective regional knowledge base will focus on an integrated program to develop and transfer water conservation technology.

Relevance

The projected total present value of irrigation over 60 years is $19.3 billion or $990 per acre. Agriculture irrigation accounts for nearly 90 percent of the groundwater withdrawals in many areas of the Ogallala Aquifer region. The Ogallala Aquifer in Western Kansas and the Texas High Plains is, however, declining at an unacceptable rate of 1 to 3 feet per year. To ensure the sustainability of rural communities in this region, continued investments are needed to protect the Ogallala Aquifer. If no new water management strategies are implemented, the saturated thickness of the Ogallala Aquifer will decrease by 48 percent in 60 years, resulting in a $20 billion loss to the Southern Great Plains economy.

Accomplishments/Impacts

Lead Agency: USDA-ARS

Partners: Texas Tech University, Texas A&M University System, Kansas State University, West Texas A&M University

Federal Funding Request for FY 2010: $5 million (TTU receives about 22 percent of total)