Ogallala Aquifer still sinking

Here’s an interesting article regarding the Ogalala Aquifer’s slow, but steady depletion. Written by Everythinglubbock.com.
Lubbock’s water supply remains a huge concern as Lake Meredith continues to dry out. And the Lake Alan Henry pipeline is still months away from completion. The only supply left is underground, the Ogallala Aquifer.

Luckily last year, Lubbock saw record rainfall which has helped to add to the depleting Ogallala Aquifer.

“As a result of the rains we received last year, the producers and municipalities around the district did not have to pump as much ground water. So as a result, less was taken out of the aquafer,” said Carmon McCain of the High Plains Underground Water Conversation District No. 1.

In the past ten years, the Ogallala Aquifer saw it’s lowest decline in 2010. Compare that 2009, when it dropped an average of one and a half feet. So last year’s rain was a much needed refill for the Ogallala.

“Unlike a reservoir, an aquifer cannot be refilled rapidly it takes many, many, many years to do so,” McCain said.

McCain is the education group supervisor for the high plains underground water conservation district. He says because aquifers take years to refill, the most important way we can help ourselves and our water supply, is through conservation.

“I just think it’s important for people to be aware how they use water in their daily lives and try to cut back on that. Take shorter showers, don’t leave the faucet running when you’re brushing your teeth.”

But as this year’s drought continues, only time will how long we can rely on the Ogallala for our water supply.

“We did not have to pump as much ground water from the aquifer, so more ground water is in the aquifer now and available for future use. However with the drought conditions of 2011, those numbers may change and we may see an even larger decline in the ground water levels next year,” McCain said.
Brian O’Neill