In a new story from the Kansas City Star, Kansas State University officials are tracking the water levels and usage attached to the aquifer that yields 30 percent of the nation's irrigated groundwater. The prognosis right now doesn't look good.

"There is going to be agriculture production in Kansas and corn production and cattle production really for the foreseeable future," David Steward, lead author of the study, told the Star last week. But without conservation, he said, "the future is bleak."

The aquifer is an underground geoglogical network that covers territory under 175,000 square miles in Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming and New Mexico. Increased growth and land uses have depleted its supply since the 1960s.
 The study says at its current rate of use, the aquifer will be 70 percent depleted by 2060.

Water resources are arguably the most dire ingredient to ag industries, and the article illustrates powerfully how much conservation will be necessary to shore up our reserves. A previous article penned by the King Ranch Institute that appeared in our July enewsletter, details how the issues must be resolved with politically engaged ag producers. It's definitely worth another read. end mark