wells

Kansas Geological Survey

Thanks to timely rains last year, Mount Hope-area farmer Jeff Winter figures on some of his fields he pumped half the amount of water that he normally uses to irrigate his crops.

So did many central Kansas farmers. And it showed. 

While the Ogallala Aquifer continues to decline, the Equus Beds and Great Bend Prairie aquifers saw rises as irrigators shut down their wells more often in 2016.

"We didn't have to pump as much, and we shut off more frequently," said Winter, who also is on the Equus Beds board. He added that on a few fields, he pumped even less.

Hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling allows drillers to retrieve oil and gas from places that were previously inaccessible. There are comparisons likening current conditions to the days of wildcatters. In the midst of drought, oil is once again having significant economic impact in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, but it's not a risk-free. A Texas man's legal battle with an oil producer brings another issue to light... abandoned oil wells. Who will clean up the mess after the party is over?