HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Ogallala Aquifer Only 20 ...

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 04:35 PM

Ogallala Aquifer Only 20 Years Of Water Left >>> Stuff I Didn't Know

The Ken Burns documentary on the Dust Bowl haunted me both nights.

First night I couldn't stop thinking about how maddening it would be to have storm after storm, year after year with no end in sight.

Second night, there's the fact at the very end of the documentary where they briefly mention farmers in that area started irrigating crops, growing corn which needs more water and that there's only 20 years left of water on the aquifer they are using.

Ogallala Aquifer

Ninety-five percent of the United States' fresh water is underground. One crucial source is a huge underground reservoir, the 800-mile Ogallala aquifer which stretches from Texas to South Dakota and waters one fifth of US irrigated land.
The aquifer was formed over millions of years, but has since been cut off from its original natural sources. It is being depleted at a rate of 12 billion cubic metres a year – amounting to a total depletion to date of a volume equal to the annual flow of 18 Colorado Rivers. Some estimates say it will dry up in as little as 25 years.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/world/03/world_forum/water/html/ogallala_aquifer.stm


Even more worrisome, the draining of the High Plains water account has picked up speed. The average annual depletion rate between 2000 and 2007 was more than twice that during the previous fifty years. The depletion is most severe in the southern portion of the aquifer, especially in Texas, where the water table beneath sizeable areas has dropped 100-150 feet; in smaller pockets, it has dropped more than 150 feet.

Unfortunately, that water is not coming back any time soon. The Ogallala filled slowly during the Ice Age tens of thousands of years ago. The southern portions get very little recharge today.

snip

But the Texas irrigators have already begun adapting. They have shifted from old-style flood irrigation to more efficient sprinklers. The High Plains Water District maintains that irrigation efficiency rose from 50 percent in the mid-seventies to 75 percent by 1990. Since then, more farmers have adopted low-pressure drop-line sprinklers that deliver water closer to the crops instead of spraying it high in the air. When combined with field methods that conserve water in the soil, these precision sprinklers can achieve efficiencies of 95 percent. Some cotton farmers that have installed sub-surface drip systems, which deliver water at low volumes directly to the crops’ roots, have achieved efficiencies approaching 100 percent.
http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2012/02/07/texas-water-district-acts-to-slow-depletion-of-the-ogallala-aquifer/

45 replies, 5998 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 45 replies Author Time Post
Reply Ogallala Aquifer Only 20 Years Of Water Left >>> Stuff I Didn't Know (Original post)
KittyWampus Nov 2012 OP
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #1
kelliekat44 Nov 2012 #9
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #14
Earth_First Nov 2012 #2
joshcryer Nov 2012 #13
GliderGuider Nov 2012 #16
joshcryer Nov 2012 #17
CrispyQ Dec 2012 #34
Warpy Nov 2012 #3
Are_grits_groceries Nov 2012 #4
janlyn Nov 2012 #5
Gregorian Nov 2012 #6
luv_mykatz Dec 2012 #30
CrispyQ Dec 2012 #36
Gregorian Dec 2012 #40
magical thyme Nov 2012 #7
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #15
Mojorabbit Nov 2012 #20
Sekhmets Daughter Dec 2012 #32
Mojorabbit Dec 2012 #42
Selatius Dec 2012 #31
CrispyQ Dec 2012 #37
magical thyme Dec 2012 #45
Octafish Nov 2012 #8
Kaleva Nov 2012 #11
tama Nov 2012 #19
Kaleva Dec 2012 #24
jwirr Nov 2012 #22
Kaleva Dec 2012 #25
tama Dec 2012 #26
jwirr Dec 2012 #33
Kaleva Dec 2012 #39
Chan790 Dec 2012 #41
joshcryer Nov 2012 #10
oldbanjo Nov 2012 #12
shanti Nov 2012 #23
KansDem Dec 2012 #29
Octafish Dec 2012 #43
toby jo Nov 2012 #18
tama Nov 2012 #21
madamesilverspurs Dec 2012 #27
tama Dec 2012 #28
redqueen Dec 2012 #35
CrispyQ Dec 2012 #38
HuskyOffset Dec 2012 #44

Response to KittyWampus (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 04:44 PM

1. Need more bad news?

Texas billionaire Harold Simmons is building a toxic waste dump over that small portion of the aquifer in Texas.

Also, Fracking is extremely water -intensive. Farmers and cattlemen in Texas have been complaining about the that for a few years now.

I suspect one of the reason for the big push by American investors to develop the economy in Brazil is because Brazil happens to have the world's largest supply of renewable potable water. When life in the US become untenable, they'll just relocate.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #1)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 06:35 PM

9. I don't understand these people's brain. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to kelliekat44 (Reply #9)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 07:34 PM

14. They honestly believe they are "better" and

more deserving than the rest of us. They have become a cancer on society and on the planet.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to KittyWampus (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 04:47 PM

2. The average annual depletion rate between 2000 and 2007 was more than twice that during the previous

50 years.


Let that one sink in for 10 minutes.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Earth_First (Reply #2)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 07:33 PM

13. There was a huge spike in exports in that time:



As drought continues to impact the United States you can expect exports to go down in order to maintain food prices.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to joshcryer (Reply #13)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 08:54 PM

16. The D4 area in the middle almost exactly matches the outline of the Ogallala:



Makes kind of a scary point...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to GliderGuider (Reply #16)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 09:01 PM

17. This is precisely why I believe it will depleat sooner.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to joshcryer (Reply #17)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 12:07 PM

34. yep.

Everything is accelerating faster than they predicted.

Our species is about to get knocked down a couple of pegs.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to KittyWampus (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 04:50 PM

3. What annoys me is that most of what was grown

went to feed meat animals to make them more artery clogging. It wasn't used to feed starving people across the globe. It was used to feed pigs and cows.

Once that resource is gone, maybe the area will go back to what it was supposed to be: prairie grasslands best suited to chasing bison (or cows) across.

Drip irrigation will prolong the death of the area as crop area, if agribusiness can be persuaded to do it. As of now, all they care to do is the spray irrigation that wastes the resource.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to KittyWampus (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 04:51 PM

4. And all the states over it are fighting about it.

I taught Earth Science in the 1980s and this was part of what I taught.
My 9th graders were talking about the aquifer drying up then. We discussed other water issues too.

Has anybody done anything about it? Nooooooooo. My students had some suggestions but who listens to anybody. The PTB have known about this for years.

If you use teh Google, you will find that almost every state has a water issue. Many are fighting with other states. SC is fighting with NC & GA about different sources. GA is very worried about Atlanta.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to KittyWampus (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 04:58 PM

5. makes me stop and think...

How over the last couple of years there have been stories about whether or not water is on other planets..most recently saturn.

possibly the powers that be know something that the general populous does not?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to KittyWampus (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 05:22 PM

6. Maybe people will begin to see the thing that all of these problems are revolving around.

But since even when I post threads about it, they don't reach the Greatest page like Bo the dog threads, I might as well not even bring it up.

But sooner or later we will have to face the REAL problem. And if you have to ask what it is, you might just be part of the problem yourself.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Gregorian (Reply #6)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 03:53 AM

30. No one wants to talk about the elephant in the room.

People need to curtail our breeding.

No, we don't need to go extinct. We just need to face facts. There are more humans on this planet than can be sustainably supported.

I chose not to breed in high school. I figured it was the best gift I could give the future generations.

I have never regretted my choice (which was made about 42 years ago).

I am past breeding stage, for which I am exceedingly grateful, especially when I see all of the attacks on women's rights to control our bodies.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to luv_mykatz (Reply #30)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 12:14 PM

36. The outrage on this site when someone suggests we need to get our numbers under control,

it's amazing. Many people don't think we have the right to restrict how many children people can have. I simply don't get that mindset. If we won't do it willingly, nature will take care of the problem for us & it will be so much harsher than if we would address the issue ourselves.

So much for the pinnacle of creation.


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to luv_mykatz (Reply #30)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 12:29 PM

40. I'm so glad to see these posts this morning.

I respect very few people on this planet. Now I have a couple more. I know that sounds righteous and smug to most people. But I think you understand. It's rare to meet someone like you.

I watched Cat On A Hot Tin Roof last night. Breeding wasn't just expected, it was an order. I cringed watching it.

I'm also ashamed of how willfully ignorant even the most educated and liberal are. Even this forum is so far from being enlightened. Right now there's outrage on the front page. The DOJ is supposedly backing off the Monsanto case. Every time I see one of these threads, I have a one word reply. Population. We have to have Monsanto. And cue the angry replies. Oh, we can do it with organic farming. Well, go ahead then. Give that a try. But all of the problems we face are population related. Yet we're engineering this and that, and making new laws. Argh. I didn't need to even write all of this. You get it.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to KittyWampus (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 06:28 PM

7. I suspect the reason they don't care about the tar sands pipeline is because

they've written off the middle of the country already. Actually, I think TPTB have written off entire sections of the globe and chosen which sections will be left alone.

I live in an area that is home to many 1%ers, who are migrating here slowly. We have a large, high quality fresh water aquifer, already are able to feed over 80% of our population and are working toward 100%, are making major investments in renewable clean energy. And have done a lot to clean up the local environment and are making major investments in organic agriculture and conservation areas. So I think I landed in a "protected" area.

Other areas -- the Gulf of Mexico comes to mind, and my home state of PA -- I think have been "written off" and will be destroyed for oil, natural gas, whatever.

Likewise, Somalia was "written off" as the garbage dump for toxic waste such as radioactive waste. And so one.

Just like I think they deliberately targeted Greece for financial ruin so they could buy it on the cheap. Likewise Spain and Italy. Beautiful environments, lovely climates...too good for the Greek people.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to magical thyme (Reply #7)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 07:35 PM

15. Where do you live?

Sounds almost like paradise.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #15)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 11:07 PM

20. I was wonderin.g the same thing.

I doubt I will ever move but it would be nice to have options.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Mojorabbit (Reply #20)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 07:47 AM

32. Exactly.

I think I shall try to find this Shangri la.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #32)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 03:11 PM

42. If you find it, please let me know! nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to magical thyme (Reply #7)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 03:57 AM

31. Your post hit a rather painful nerve here with me. I live on the Gulf of Mexico in Mississippi.

We still say, "I live in the footprint of Katrina."

But it was as if that wasn't enough to bring us to our knees. The insurance companies let untold thousands of homeowners up and down the coast hang in the wind after the storm, including myself. Because the drain at the end of the street backed up and flooded the neighborhood with three inches of water, they wrote my home off as flood damage even though it was plain to any that my home was destroyed when its roof was ripped off. I went into bankruptcy after losing the home and not getting a payout. This, on top of the fact that thousands of people died and were never recorded.

Then, the economy crashed after the storm because of those bogus securities the big banks sold on Wall Street in the housing market. Because casinos and local tourism represent a gigantic underpinning of the coast economy, this was like getting kicked in the face while you're still on the ground after the first hit. Apparently, Florida had one of the biggest housing bubbles, and when it popped, people who borrowed a little cash to come to my neck of the woods stopped coming, and they once represented a fairly big source of revenue for the coast. I'm guessing many of them either lost their jobs or their homes or both in the Panic of 2008.

And then, BP happened, and everybody took a third hit economically. Then those oil-soaked bastards called the mess cleaned up by dumping 2,000,000 gallons of dispersants on the oil to drive it to the bottom where the shrimp and fish live. These dispersants are so toxic that they are banned in the European Union for causing cancer. The authorities in the state government had the gall to say that the entire coast is now safe to fish, despite all the tar balls and sludge still washing up on the barrier islands. In ten to twenty years, the rates of cancer here on the Mississippi coast will double or triple. Exxon only cleaned up 40% of the oil before they pulled out. We would be so lucky if it was that much with the Deepwater Horizon spill.

When you say they've written off the entire Gulf of Mexico, I believe it. I can see it happen in real-time. This coast was beautiful once, one of the best week-end getaways in the nation if small and medium-sized casinos were your hobby. Now, it's all trashed, and the state squandered hundreds of millions in home reconstruction funds. Yet, for some reason, we still hobble onward.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to magical thyme (Reply #7)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 12:16 PM

37. I didn't realize so many 1%ers lived north of nowhere.

Must be a nice area. I'll have to visit someday.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to CrispyQ (Reply #37)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 08:43 AM

45. It's shangri-la if you can afford to heat your home

1%ers are on islands, oceanfront, lakefront and mountaintop with bay views. They're targeting former conservation land on Moosehead lake now to develop for 1%ers.

The 1%ers mostly "summer" here now, but I expect climate change will bring them here full time someday in the not too distant future.

It can be a tough place to be if you are a poor transplant, though. And locals will systematically strip middle class transplants of all their assets through fraud, etc. if they smell an "easy" target (eg single middle aged woman). Best for women to come here armed with 'tude and physical weapon.

I just returned to my last job in a call center on a harbor where we support dozens of large finance companies. A major bank or two and one telecomm that I know of have also major call centers up here.

1st national park in the US. Organic gardening capital of the US.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to KittyWampus (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 06:35 PM

8. We gotta come up with a plan to desalinate water from the ocean.

DU engineers could come up with a system to use sunlight and some magnifying glasses and Dyson fans or whatever it takes to steam off H2O and get it where its needed. Freshwater from the seas could replenish the aquifers and apply the technology to regions needing water across the planet. In the process, we'd lower sea levels rising with the polar meltdowns.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Octafish (Reply #8)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 07:32 PM

11. The technology is already here. The will to do it is missing

Large scale solar farms could power desalinzation plants. Run the plants at full capacity during the day and idle it down at night. When the technology matures where excess solar power could stored for use at night, then the plants could be run 24/7.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Kaleva (Reply #11)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 10:57 PM

19. Hi there

 

Do I guess right, you are Michigan Finns? Beautiful name, it that's what your parents gave you!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to tama (Reply #19)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 01:25 AM

24. Yes, I'm a Michigan Finn

But my name here is the name of a restaurant not far from where I live.

Nice to meet you too.! .

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Octafish (Reply #8)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 11:31 PM

22. Whenever anyone talks about using ocean water I worry about just what the effect on the ocean

is going to be of taking so much water from it. Our resources are finite. That includes ocean water.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to jwirr (Reply #22)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 01:27 AM

25. I don't think it'll be even noticeable

Not with the glaciers and ice caps melting as they are.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Kaleva (Reply #25)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 01:47 AM

26. Sea levels are rising relatively rapidly

 

as consequence of Climate Change.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Kaleva (Reply #25)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 10:58 AM

33. For now. This is the same short sighted thinking that got us into the mess we are now in. Unlimited

resources that do not require conservation measures.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to jwirr (Reply #33)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 12:23 PM

39. Conservation alone isn't the answer.

Even if extreme conservation measures were taken, the aquifer would still have finite lifespan. One needs to tap new sources, such as desalination, and implement conservation practices.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to jwirr (Reply #22)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 12:56 PM

41. There is so much of it, that it may as well be considered a infinite resource like sunlight.

Let's put it this way...70% of the Earth's surface is covered by water. Of that 70%, something like 98% of that water is oceanic salt-water. Calling ocean water finite is like calling electrons or sunlight finite...they ultimately are...but for all intents and purposes, they're really not except on a gigantic eons-length scale.

The water we're taking is not destroyed...it's recycled ultimately. Water comes out of the ocean, water is desalinated, water is used...and 2-200 process-steps down the line, that water evaporates and falls as rain or pours into the oceans eventually as clean as it came out of the ocean typically.

If we ever get to the point where our water-taking for desalination into potable water is even noticeable...we have a much bigger total-global-extinction-level problem. The Earth would be as fucked as Mars or Venus...incapable of sustaining any life...and we can safely say that would be 1000s if not 10000s or 100000s or even 1000000s of years from now...and probably never.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to KittyWampus (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 07:24 PM

10. And we're looking at protracted droughts, so it's going to get even worse.

20 years is optimistic. I am banking on 15 before it gets difficult to extract (wells will be unproductive, new ones will have to be drilled, etc).

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to KittyWampus (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 07:33 PM

12. This is why both Bush's have bought 200,000 acre's (total)

of land in South America over a large body of water. It will be worth more than oil.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to oldbanjo (Reply #12)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 11:32 PM

23. exactly, and it's in paraguay

lifesaving water is what billions of dollars will buy. there's nothing more important than water.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to oldbanjo (Reply #12)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 03:53 AM

29. Perhaps the Bush Family wants to become the "Saudis of water." (nt)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to KansDem (Reply #29)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 03:26 PM

43. ENRON was leading the way in Florida.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to KittyWampus (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 09:06 PM

18. Those natural prairie grasses have roots that are 5 ft deep

 

but they aren't going to survive either with no aquifer. They say it will be a sahara desert.

I saw that Burns documentary. There was a pic of a ship in NY Harbor - that would be the one with the Stature of Liberty in it - the dust was coming in so thick that the captain would not navigate into the harbor. They actually blew into the Atlantic Ocean. These storms came this far east, and they will again.

Don't think the desalinate and refill idea will go , but it's a creative try. I think that you're talking about an incredible amount of energy to move that much water.

I say cut back now , get off those high demand plants like corn. Return it to nature now, and then farm it cyclically. It will last thousands of years with a plan like that. Crop rotation, selective irrigation, managed grazing techniques are needed.

Well, hell, thinking is needed, so kick out the republicans and let the lefties have a go of things.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to KittyWampus (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 11:19 PM

21. Forestation + stop pumping ground except for household

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to KittyWampus (Original post)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 01:55 AM

27. Water - huge reason we protest fracking.

Weld County CO, where I live, is run by the all-republican county commission, and they brag loudly and often about the 19000+ fracking wells in the county. Farmers are plowing dust, ag takes a distant last place at water auctions. Each well requires upward of 7 MILLION gallons of water, water that can never be used for anything else. Cheney's company benefits from his bludgeoning congress into exempting fracking from the provisions of clean water legislation; the list of toxins in fracking fluids, including many carcinogens, is horrifying. None of this is helping our energy here at home, it's all getting exported.

They're poisoning all of us, but it's "just business". If Al Qaeda was doing this it would rightly be called terrorism.


-

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to madamesilverspurs (Reply #27)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 03:31 AM

28. It is terrorism. nt

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to KittyWampus (Original post)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 12:08 PM

35. This is why it has been said for years

that our future wars will be not over oil, but water.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to KittyWampus (Original post)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 12:20 PM

38. I just watched "Blue Gold" World Water Wars."

Every one should watch this movie. It's very sobering.

The human race needs to pull it's collective head out of it's collective ass PDQ!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to CrispyQ (Reply #38)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 03:32 PM

44. Anyone remember....

...the movie "Tank Girl"? If I remember correctly, the world was mostly desert and the big evil company controlled all the water. People took sand showers to get clean.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread