(Colo)-Drawdown Of Ogallala Aquifer Accelerating
DENVER, Colo. (AP) - The draining of the massive Ogallala aquifer underlying the Great Plains for irrigation and domestic use is drying up streams, causing fish to disappear, and threatening the livelihood of farmers who rely on it for their crops.
The Denver Post analyzed federal data and found the aquifer, also known as the High Plains Aquifer, shrank twice as fast over the past 6 years than it had in the previous 60.
The Ogallala Aquifer underlies 175,000 square miles of Nebraska, Wyoming, and 6 other states, but its water levels have been dropping for decades as irrigators take out water from the aquifer faster than rainfall can recharge it.
The U.S. Geological Survey said in a June report that 10.7 million acre-feet of water was pumped out between 2013 and 2015.
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts says while it's true the level of the Ogallala Aquifer is dropping sharply as a whole, that's not true in Nebraska because the state began focusing on the issue through its NRDs the last 4 decades.
Ricketts says the level of the aquifer statewide is “very healthy” and basically at the same level it was in the 1950s.
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