Aquifer – A report released by researchers at Kansas State University has assigned alarming numbers to a regional tragedy of the commons otherwise known as the Ogallala Aquifer that lies below Kansas: If crop irrigation continues at current levels, almost 70 percent of its water will be depleted within 50 years. The aquifer needs to have water for western Kansans to have their home on the range. Private irrigation must decrease to prevent an avoidable tragedy from affecting us all.
Use of the Ogallala Aquifer requires continuous study and monitoring. Western Kansas without a reliable water source would be almost useless for irrigated crop production, which would further drive down population – both of which would be a blow to the Kansas economy. Efforts to maintain the aquifer and slow its depletion will require a blend of solutions that involve the state of Kansas, local stakeholders, landowners and residents.