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Posted Sat Jun 26 2010: from Texas Tribune:
How Bad Is the Ogallala Aquifer's Decline in Texas?
Stretching across eight states, the amount of water is so vast that, according to one writer, it could fill Lake Erie nine times over. Within Texas, the Ogallala accounts for about 40 percent of all water use. But the aquifer's levels are declining sharply here. In a dry growing season last year, the High Plains Water District, which includes all or part of 15 Panhandle counties, recorded an average drop of 1.5 feet, the most since 1997. The rains have returned, but the 2007 state water plan projects that the Ogallala's volume will fall a staggering 52 percent between 2010 and 2060, as corn and cotton growers continue to draw from its depths.... In general, he says, Texans are probably pumping the Ogallala at about six times the rate of recharge.... Edwards Aquifer Authority v. Day has the potential to gut the state's ability to regulate groundwater through local districts, by making them more vulnerable to court challenge. If it goes the other way -- and the court decides landowners do not have an ownership right in groundwater -- then Johnson says that districts would have few limits on their ability to restrict groundwater use.
[Read more stories about: aquifers depletion, short-term thinking]
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