water conservation

Water Conservation
8:00 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Texas: Plains Cotton Growers support proposed groundwater limits

Credit lubbockonline.com

Plains Cotton Growers support the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District’s proposal to limit groundwater use on private farmland in Texas.  

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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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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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Growing on the High Plains
8:00 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Watering xeriscape style

Skip talks with the xeric experts at Ward's Garden Center. Left to right: Don Lonnberg, Matt Lutz, and Skip Mancini.
Credit Cindee Talley

Techniques that make every drop of water count in your xeriscape beds include how much, how often, and how to apply that gardener's liquid gold.  The importance of soil preparation is also discussed this week.  

Water Conservation
8:00 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Drought pushes wastewater into Texas spotlight

A tour group samples treated wastewater at the Dos Rios Water Recycling Center, operated by the San Antonio Water System.
Credit texastribune.org

The depleting of aquifers and endless drought has spurred discussion, debate, and even court cases about who owns the water.  Groundwater and rain are familiar disagreements, but in Texas wastewater has stepped on stage. 

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HPPR Environment
12:10 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Amarillo still not conserving water

Credit distancebetweencities.net

Amarillo residents are not conserving water.  The city’s water usage goal is 52 million gallons per day.  Every day this month has exceeded that amount reported the Amarillo Globe-News.

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Federal Conservation Reserve Program
8:00 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

New study reveals playa conservation program is a help, not a fix

A playa wetland in an unaltered native short-grass prairie.
Dale Daniel

Playas are those big ponds you see dotting across the High Plains.  They provide habitat for amphibians and points for aquifer recharge.  A study from Oklahoma State University suggests the Federal Conservation Reserve Program does have a positive impact on the health of the playas, but does not restore them reported The Environmental Monitor.

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Water Conservation
8:00 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Amarillo residents continue to exceed water usage goals despite drought

Credit homeadvisor.com

Amarillo is in the fourth year of drought conditions, yet residents continue to exceed city water usage goals.  During the month of April, there have only been three days when water use was below the goal of about 44 million gallons.  This past Monday, residents used almost 60 million gallons according to the Amarillo Globe-News.

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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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Growing on the High Plains
8:00 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Winter Watering

Credit masterofhort.com

A trip to the county extension office for a botanical diagnosis of a sickly tree branch paid off with reassurance that all was well.  While I was there I was also served up a refresher course in wise watering practices for our consistently dry and thirsty area.  We reviewed some things I knew about, but am sometimes lax in following.  And I learned a thing or two about making every precious drop of moisture count, even when rainfall is skimpy.   

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Water Conservation
8:00 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Southeastern Colorado: Pueblo Dam conduit gets approval

The Pueblo Reservoir is the source for the conduit.
Credit secwcd.org

The “Frying Pan-Arkansas” project conduit as been planned since the 1960s when the Pueblo Dam was built, but due to lack of funding was never completed.  The Bureau of Reclamation recently signed a Record of Decision giving the project the green light according to an article by The Colorado Springs Independent.  

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Water Conservation
8:00 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Water Rights: Is contaminating your groundwater with waste water trespassing?

Credit earthyreport.com

If someone dumps trash in your garage is that trespassing?  Obviously, the answer is yes.  But, if someone dumps trash water and it contaminates your water, is it still trespassing?  The Texas Supreme Court is deciding that issue right now.

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Water Conservation
8:00 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

State Lines Would Be Much Different if Water and Topography Determined Location

How the states might look if their boundaries were drawn around water resources and topography.
Credit John Lavey / Sonoran Institute

State boundaries would be a lot different if a 19th Century idea would have been used to determine boundaries, and not railroad companies.  Colorado Matters recently explored the premise with John Lavey, a land use planner at the Sonoran Institute in Montana.

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Water Conservation
8:00 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

The High Plains Irrigation Conference Is For Everyone Concerned About Water

Credit ga.water.usgs.gov

The annual High Plains Irrigation Conference is for everyone concerned about water.  Regional water issues, an update on Texas Water Board Programs, irrigation trends, best practices for irrigation, and risk management tools are conference topics.  A research panel will also debate the issues.

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Water Conservation
8:00 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Oilfield Water Recycling: Good for the environment but not the bank account

Jimmy Davis, the operations manager of Fasken Oil and Ranch, which now recycles almost half the water it uses in fracking.
Credit Jerod Foster / texastribune.org

Standing on a sprawling ranch where drilling rigs, cranes and bobbing stripper wells form a makeshift skyline, Jimmy Davis is not thinking solely about sucking up oil. It is not the only precious liquid that is pumped from under the land that he manages according to a recent article in the Texas Tribune.

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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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Water Conservation
8:00 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Production Ag: Sub-surface Irrigation Study Findings

Subsurface Drip Irrigation
Credit Nate Birt / agweb.com

The Kansas State University Research Center in Colby, Kansas, has been studying ways to use precious groundwater more efficiently.  Subsurface drip irrigation has been tested for 25 years according to the High Plains Journal

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Agriculture
8:00 pm
Sun October 27, 2013

Could An Aqueduct from the Missouri River Help Preserve the Ogallala Aquifer and SW Kansas Life?

The Kansas Aqueduct route, proposed in the 1982 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study, would have drawn water from the Missouri River and pumped it 600 kilometers (375 miles) uphill to the western plains. Neither reservoir shown on the map exists; both were part of the aqueduct project.
Credit Southwest Kansas Groundwater Management District

State officials and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are re-evaluating a seminal 1982 federal water supply study that proposed transporting billions of gallons annually from the Missouri River to farms 375 miles away stated a recent article in Circle of Blue.  

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Agriculture
8:00 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Bushland USDA Ag Research Center: 75 years of putting theory into practice

Agriculture Research Service of the Southern Plains
Credit ars.usda.gov

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service of the Southern Plains is on a mission.  For 75 years, they’ve been working, “to sustainably balance today’s livelihoods with tomorrow’s needs.”  An article from the Amarillo Globe-News reported scientists at the facility do more than write research papers, they put them into practice. 

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HPPR Economy and Enterprise
8:43 pm
Sun September 1, 2013

Report criticizes incentives in the Federal Crop Insurance Program

Credit www.nebraska.tv

Farmers across the country received a record breaking 17.3 billion dollars in federal crop insurance payouts after last year’s drought.  While the payments were critical for the financial well-being of farmers, the National Resources Defense Council has issued a report critical of the structure of the Federal Crop Insurance Program (FCIP).

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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

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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Harvest Public Media story
8:01 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Western Kansas confronts the challenges of a dwindling water supply

Western Kansas farmers like Jesse Garetson depend on underground water pumped from the High Plains Aquifer.
Frank Morris/Harvest Public Media

Imagine enough water to fill a couple of great lakes, but spread under some of the driest parts of eight western states. That was the High Plains Aquifer 60 years ago, before new pumping and irrigation systems made it easy for farmers to extract billions of gallons from it and use it to grow lucrative crops on the arid land.

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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.
Play Country Episode
8:01 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Conservation Easements and Land Trust Organizations

Credit Ducks Unlimited

More than half of western Great Plains farmers are near retirement age. Many are considering conservation easements as a way of protecting the land from development and subdivision long after they're gone. The federal government, through USDA programs, negotiate easements on land meeting conservation requirements. Other organizations - Land Trusts - have been created specifically for contracting with landowners to quell future development rights to the land. This episode the functions of land trusts and what they're able to accomplish. This story is part one of a four-part series on Conservation Easements. It originally aired on HPPR April 16, 2013

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Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

High Plains Food Bank Practices Water Conservation

Justin hard at work. See the green rain collectors against the building?

Today we'll make our final visit to Amarillo and the High Plains Food Bank, where we'll be investigating the task of watering the large plot that provides food for so many in the Texas Panhandle. 

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