Water, we thought it would last forever

Jul 23, 2014

Rodger Funk walks out of a dryland milo field on his farm near Garden City, Kansas, that sits atop the Ogallala Aquifer.
Rodger Funk walks out of a dryland milo field on his farm near Garden City, Kansas, that sits atop the Ogallala Aquifer.
Credit pewtrusts.org

The Kansas economy relies on water and for more than a generation, experts have warned that western Kansas' economic resource is vanishing.

Rodger Funk attended a meeting more than half-century ago where state officials told him and a few others in attendance that the Ogallala Aquifer wasn’t an endless river as they once thought.  It is finite they said reported Amy Bickel for the Salina Journal

Over the years, the Garden City, Kansas farmer has plugged wells when it was no longer economically feasible to pump the water to his crops.  That pushed him to start making the change to dryland farming.

The landscape is changing for this 86-year-old and his son, Boyd.  The falling water table could mean less population and possibly a decline in a Main Street based on agriculture.

"Everybody believed it, I believed it -- this water is going to last forever," Funk says, “You wonder what this is going to look like 50 years from now." 

This is the second installment in a water series by the Hutchinson News and the Salina Journal.  The series is diving into the issues surrounding the declining Ogallala aquifer and how it affects Kansas.

To read the rest of the story from Amy Bickel head on over to the Salina Journal.