Tuesday, May 21, 2013

As plains aquifer dries up, so do rural communities

The New York Times reported yesterday on the greatly reduced water level in the High Plains Aquifer, which stretches through western Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma down to northern Texas.  The story is primarily about the impact this phenomenon is having on agriculture in the region, but Michael Wines, reporting from Haskell County, Kansas, also gives a nod to the region's population clusters.  Wines notes that while some farmers are turning to uses of the land that require less water, such as raising cattle instead of growing corn, many are not convinced that this will save the region.  Some believe that "when irrigation ends, so do the jobs and added income that sustain rural communities."  Jim Butler, a hydrologist and senior scientist at the Kansas Geological Survey, is quoted:
Looking at areas of Texas where the groundwater has really dropped, those towns are just a shell of what they once were.

No comments: