water conservation

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.  

Production Ag: Sub-surface Irrigation Study Findings

Nov 19, 2013
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

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.  

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. 

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).

Texas Groundwater: Money Won't Fix All the Problems

Aug 29, 2013
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.    

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. 

Doing More With Less Water

Aug 20, 2013
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.

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.

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.

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

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. 

Pages