irrigation

Irrigation
2:00 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Recovering from flooding, Colorado farmers hope for enough water

Construction workers rebuild a section of Highland Ditch Company’s irrigation infrastructure that was washed out in flooding near Lyons, Colorado.
Credit Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Listen to Luke's report.

When September’s flood waters came down from the Front Range foothills, they destroyed homes and wrecked office parks. The water ruined roads, bridges and highways. The floods destroyed farms and crops, and unleashed tremendous pressure on aging irrigation infrastructure, some of which dated back to the late 1800s.

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Study provides scenarios
8:00 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Projecting the future of the Ogallala Aquifer

Aerial view of center pivot irrigation fields

In 1960 just 3 percent of the Ogallala aquifer under Western Kansas had been tapped.  By 2010 it was 30 percent.  By 2060 it will be 69 percent.  And once depleted, it will take 500-1,300 years to completely refill.  These projections are all from a recently issued, comprehensive, four year study from Kansas State University. 

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Harvest Public Media story
8:00 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Doing More With Less Water

Tom Trout, a researcher at the U.S. Department of Agriculture who focuses on efficient and effective irrigation methods, checks sunflowers on a USDA research plot in Weld County, CO.
Credit Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Hear the audio version of Luke's story.

The future of agriculture across the Great Plains hinges on water. Without it, nothing can grow.

Climate models and population growth paint a pretty bleak picture for water availability a few decades from now. If farmers want to stay in business, they have to figure out how to do more with less. Enter: super efficient irrigation systems.

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9:46 am
Sat June 8, 2013

Water conservation incentives leading to more water use?

Lead in text: 
The 1996 farm bill authorized an incentive program to help farmers buy more efficient irrigation equipment to save water. An estimated $4.2 billion in conservation subsidy payments have been made since 1997 and the program is under scrutiny in the current debate over a new five-year farm bill. And questions are being raised over whether the water conservation promoted by the program has actually led to more overall water use.
WASHINGTON - Millions of dollars in farm subsidies for irrigation equipment aimed at water conservation have led to more water use, not less, threatening vulnerable aquifers and streams. From Wyoming to the Texas Panhandle, water tables have fallen 150 feet in some areas - ranging from 15 percent to 75 percent - since the 1950s, scientists say, because the subsidies give farmers the incentive to irrigate more acres of land.
6:46 am
Mon September 10, 2012

Water as the most valuable crop

Lead in text: 
Growing urban areas adjoining the High Plains are becoming major customers for the region's water. What was once considered a production input is now the final harvest in southeast Colorado.
Southeastern Colorado is laced with canals. You can