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Western Kansas Adjusts to Shrinking Aquifer

Associated Press - July 22, 2014 10:44 am

ogalla aquifer

For more than seven decades, farmers and other industries have depended on the Ogallala Aquifer to provide the lifeblood of the western Kansas economy.

There has been concern that irrigation and other uses have depleted the aquifer faster than it can be recharged. It’s been declining each year since irrigation began in the 1940s and 1950s.

The Hutchinson News reports that Kansas Water Office Director Tracy Streeter says some areas in western Kansas already can no longer use the aquifer.

Garden City farmer Rodger Funk says he attended meetings decades ago where state officials were already discussing the water problems, but few people believed them. Now, he and his son have switched to dryland farming, and he wonders what the region will look like in 50 years.

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