Ogallala Aquifer

Water Conservation
8:00 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Get the facts about the Ogallala Aquifer

Credit usgs.org

This is the last installment of the water series.  Amy Bickel covered facts about the Ogallala Aquifer in a story published by Kansas Agland.

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Water Conservation
8:00 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

The water game: East vs. West

Credit k-state.edu

One thing that mixes into the Kansas water debate is where you live.  I have a neighbor from eastern Kansas who works hard to get things that grow wild in pastures of her childhood home to simply survive in her western Kansas flower bed. 

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Western Kansas
8:00 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Hauling water like pioneers in Rooks County

Farmer-ranchert Jerry McReynolds fills a stock tank with water for his cattle June 30 in eastern Rooks County. A lack of groundwater in his area forces him and some neighbors to haul water from Woodston, a 24-mile round trip, two or more times a week.
Credit Tim Unruh / Salina Journal

Even though it’s 2014, for Jerry and Diane McReynolds they live like it’s the 1800s.  The McReynolds’ domestic well in Rooks County, Kansas, went dry in October 2013.   The couple are members of Rural Water District No. 3, but service is not reliable, especially during the day reported Tim Unruh for the Salina Journal.

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Ogallala Aquifer
8:00 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Water is the cornerstone of SW Kansas economy

A NASA photo of Finney County, Kansas. The circles of land are irrigated by center pivot systems.
Credit nasa.gov

The ag world is gearing up to feed 9 billion people, but the Ogallala Aquifer sprawling under the surface of eight Midwestern states is going down the drain.  In fact, in some places, it’s gone reported Amy Bickel for Kansas Agland.

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6:24 am
Wed July 23, 2014

A water-centered economy

Lead in text: 
The Kansas economy relies on water and for more than a generation, experts have warned that western Kansas' economic resource is vanishing. The Hutchinson News and the Salina Journal are delving into the issues surrounding the declining Ogallala Aquifer and how it affects Kansas. Water: Past, present, and future begins today with a look at a water-centered economy.
ULYSSES - A century ago, when Clay Scott's great-grandfather homesteaded the this area of semiarid western Kansas, he relied on the mercy of the sky. Click here to view all stories in our series It wasn't easy. There were plenty of years when rain came sparingly. Yet, as thousands of far ...
Water Conservation
8:00 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Kansas water plan team gets an earful in Hays

Credit kwo.org

The water plan for the state of Kansas was recently unveiled.  The goal is to ensure a reliable water supply for the future according to a recent article from the Washington Times.

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The evaporating Ogallala Aquifer
8:00 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Down to the last drop: The Texas Panhandle water crisis

An American flag stands sentinel over the harsh Texas Panhandle landscape southwest of Vega, Texas. The tattered edge is a testament to the relentless wind in the Panhandle.
Credit nbcnews.com

If you ask Dale Artho about climate change, and the predictions scientists are making, he’ll say there’s no point in discussing the doomsday prophecies.  It’s already happened in Vega, Texas.  He can give you details. 

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Water Conservation
8:00 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Western Kansas voters say no to water conservation program

A center-pivot irrigation system in Trego County.
Credit kgs.ku.edu

Water rights holders in Western Kansas counties recently rejected a plan to conserve the Ogallala Aquifer.  Groundwater Management District No. 1 board members asked its voting membership to approve a measure to that would cut irrigation use by 20 percent reported Amy Bickel for Kansas Agland.

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Garetson Brothers v. American Warrior
8:00 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Haskell County family tests Kansas water law

Haskell County, Kansas
Credit commons.wikimedia.org

With the depletion of the Ogallala aquifer looming, a Haskell County family is testing Kansas water rights law.  First in time, first in right gives senior water rights priority over junior rights.  If the senior right is impaired, the owner of the junior right could be ordered to reduce irrigation from their well or even be shut down completely water reported Amy Bickel for Kansas Agland.

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Water Conservation
8:00 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Water Basics 101

This map portrays the volume of water being depleted from rivers, lakes and aquifers on a daily basis (MGD = million gallons per day).
Credit EPRI, 2014

Math helps us understand the causes of water shortages, how much water we’re wasting, as well as predict flooding.  The big picture can be seen when you grasp how much water is falling as rain or snow, moving into rivers or aquifers, and how much is being used in cities, industry and farms.  An explanation of the current water situation from the National Geographic can be found here.   

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Agriculture
8:00 pm
Sun March 16, 2014

High Plains dairy producers attend Lubbock conference

Credit Kay Ledbetter / Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Over 300 participants attended the High Plains Dairy Conference in Lubbock, Texas.  Most of them were from Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado according to a University News release.

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Agriculture
8:00 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Kansas: Greeley County hog farm expansion approved by KDHE

The Ladder Creek farm site in Greeley County is the largest hog-growing facility in Kansas. The operation is located 12 miles north of Tribune on Highway 27 and east on 12 Mile Road. With its expansion permit approved it can legally have up to 365,000 pigs.
Credit Phil Cauthon / Kansas Health Institute

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment approved the expansion of Seaboard Farms’ Ladder Creek hog farm according to a recent article from the Kansas Health Institute.

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Water Conservation
8:00 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Ogallala Aquifer Preservation Program Wins Big Award

Credit nwksgmd4.blogspot.com / USGS

The Ogallala Aquifer is life to the high plains.  The depletion of that resource moved Kansas State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, Texas Tech University, Texas A&M University, and West Texas A&M University to team up and work together to preserve the vital resource according to the High Plains Journal.  

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Playa Country Episode
8:01 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

NRCS Ogallala Aquifer Initiative: Nebraska Landowner Story

Credit Lori Potter / Kearney Hub

Jerry Stevens enrolled in the Rainwater-Basin Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program, which restores and protects wetlands in fields under production by allowing center pivots to cross the rainwater basins. It's win-win. The program protects a wetland, and allows the producer to farm the circle around it.

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Playa Country Episode
8:01 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

NRCS Ogallala Aquifer Initiative: Kansas Producers Self-regulate Water Use

Credit Kansas Ground Water Management

New legislation in Kansas makes it possible for producers to work within water conservation districts to create Locally Enhanced Management Areas (LEMAs) and agree among themselves how much groundwater use they can curtail. Brad Oelke talks about the first LEMA, which began in January 2013, and how NRCS may be able to help irrigators reduce consumption.

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Playa Country Episode
8:01 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

NRCS Ogallala Aquifer Initiative: Conservation Planning to Reduce Water Use

Credit oklahomafarmreport.com

Realizing the vital importance of the Ogallala Aquifer to the High Plains, The Natural Resources Conservation Service launched the Ogallala Aquifer Initiative. Playa lakes recharge the aquifer, and because of that, NRCS provides ways, through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, for producers to rehabilitate playas in cropland. NRCS Conservationists can help landowners develop a conservation plan that meets their goals, using this and other USDA conservation programs.

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Water
8:00 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Texas: Is Groundwater a Solution to Disappearing Surface Water?

Low water level at Lake Meredith
Credit Kevin Welch / amarillo.com

Life requires water. In Texas the surface water, owned by the state, is drying or dried up, and everyone from farmers to politicians are looking underground to make up the state’s growing water deficit according to the Texas Tribune.  

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Playa Country Episode
8:01 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

KAWS Wetland Coordinator - Helping Landowners Conserve Playas

Wetland vegetation and birds in the Ehmke playa, Lane County, Kansas
Credit William C. Johnson

Duane Cheney, from the Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams, talks to landowners and operators in western Kansas about the benefits of enrolling playas in NRCS's Wetlands Reserve Program or Continuous CRP, thereby taking those "mudholes" out of production once and for all and converting them into wonderful wildlife habitat that also helps recharge the Ogallala aquifer. Doug Duell talks about his experience rehabbing a 40-acre playa on his western Kansas cropland.

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Playa Country Episode
8:01 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Playas - Nebraska Landowner Story

Dave Hilfterty grows dryland winter wheat and irrigated corn in Perkins County, Nebraska. Dave had a challenge that was perfect for Wetlands Reserve Program assistance. Amongst his five irrigation circles there's a lagoon, which he got tired of trying to farm through.

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Playa Country Episode
12:00 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

NRCS Ogallala Aquifer Initiative

Credit Chris Helzer / The Nature Conservancy

Realizing the importance of the Ogallala Aquifer to High Plains states, NRCS created the Ogallala Aquifer Initiative to attempt to reduce the quantity of water removed from the aquifer, improve water quality using conservation practices, and enhance the economic viability of croplands and rangelands in the region. This episode explains how playas fit into these goals.

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Playa Country Episode
8:00 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

What Are Playas?

 We grew up on the High Plains thinking of those occasionally muddy pasture depressions as "buffalo wallows," "rainwater basins" or "mud holes." Turns out, scientists are learning those playas play a significant role recharging aquifers such as the Ogallala.

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Playa Country Episode
8:01 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Ogallala Aquifer Conservation II

Credit oklahomafarmreport.com

A significant report published by the National Academy of Sciences stresses the need to conserve groundwater. This episode focuses on two ways that is happening: 1) the USDA promotes Ogallala Aquifer conservation with NRCS money for cost-share projects, and 2) the state of Kansas changes water-rights laws to foster a culture of conservation rather than consumption.

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Water
8:00 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Texas Groundwater: Money Won't Fix All the Problems

Map of Groundwater Conservation Districts in the TX Panhandle: 61-North Plains (founded 12/1955); 35-Hemphill County (11/4/1997); 64-Panhandle (1/21/1956); 56-Mesquite (11/4/1986); 37-High Plains No.1 (9/29/1951); 28-Gateway (5/3/2003)
Credit Texas Water Development Board

Lawmakers pushed this session for a statewide, comprehensive water plan.  That includes a proposition that would add $2 billion to the Texas Water Development Board’s portfolio for future water supply projects, if approved.  At the annual meeting of the Texas Alliance of Groundwater Districts, participants concluded money won’t fix many problems they face reported the Texas Tribune.    

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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

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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Playa Country Episode
6:34 am
Mon August 12, 2013

Ogallala Aquifer Conservation: Education

Credit kansasagnetwork.com

Art Gomez of Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams discusses his job "selling" producers and landowners on permitting 30-year or permanent easements on wetlands such as playa lakes. Darryl Birkenfeld discusses his work as director of the Ogallala Commons at Nazareth, TX. The organization's mission is education and community support.

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Play Country Episode
6:16 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Ogallala Aquifer Conservation: Kansas Water Laws Change

Credit NASA images by Robert Simmon, using Landsat data from the USGS Global Visualization Viewer

Kansas' water-rights laws had encouraged consumption rather than conservation of Ogallala Aquifer groundwater used by irrigators in the western part of the state. Gov. Sam Brownback talks about his initiative to change laws in the 2012 legislative session to encourage conservation and self-regulation among ag producers. This story is part two of a four-part series on Ogallala aquifer conservation which originally aired on HPPR 01/22/13.

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Playa Country Episode
1:12 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Ogallala Aquifer Conservation

Credit sitename.com

The USDA promotes Ogallala Aquifer conservation with NRCS money for cost-share projects, and a significant report published by the National Academy of Sciences stresses the need to conserve groundwater, and the state of Kansas changes water-rights laws to foster a culture of conservation rather than consumption.

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Playa Country Episode
4:22 am
Tue December 18, 2012

Recharging the Ogallala Aquifer

Credit Texas Parks and Wildlife

We grew up on the High Plains thinking of those occasionally muddy pasture depressions as "buffalo wallows," "rainwater basins" or "mud holes."

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