World’s largest aquifer not at risk of depletion, supportive for crop production

A state climatologist says the world’s largest aquifer is not at risk of depletion despite prolonged drought in the Great Plains.

Nebraska’s Martha Shulski tells Brownfield there should be increased precipitation over the next decade for the the Ogallala Aquifer. “In terms of precipitation change, I see a decent amount of recharge taken place.  That’s in the shorter term. It could be a different story longer term if rates of extraction of water exceed what is replenished.”

As an example, she says Nebraska has seen average precipitation increase about 10 percent and that will be supportive to crop production. “Which is not a lot, but it’s enough to keep stability in the Ogallala Aquifer.  We’re in much different situation than the states further south where they see significant declines in those water levels.”

Shulski says producers in states like Kansas and Oklahoma should implement water conservation practices.

And, she says, the Aquifer has recovered from the 2012 drought.

Shulski spoke with Brownfield at a recent panel about climate change hosted by Humanities Nebraska.

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