What do we say when we talk about the Ogallala aquifer? It’s the “life-blood” and “linchpin to the economy.” Some farmers point out they aren’t growing crops, they’re exporting water in bushels of corn and soybean, and bales of alfalfa and cotton. That is also true with the beef and milk produced. What the aquifer isn’t: it isn’t an ocean, although it held more water in its silty, sandy layers than five Lake Eries; it isn’t a river, although more water is pumped annually than flows in the Colorado River; and it isn’t inexhaustible.
The High Plains Pubic Radio community read, Ogallala Blue by William Ashworth, describes the development of the aquifer and water laws to manage it.