Water

1:21am

Tue August 27, 2013
The Salt

Turning Off The Spigot In Western Kansas Farmland

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 12:49 pm

An irrigation pivot waters a corn field in Nebraska. Many farmers in Nebraska and Kansas rely on irrigation to water their corn fields. But the underground aquifer they draw from will run dry.
Nati Harnik AP

Across the High Plains, many farmers depend on underground stores of water, and they worry about wells going dry. A new scientific study of western Kansas lays out a predicted timeline for those fears to become reality. But it also shows an alternative path for farming in Kansas: The moment of reckoning can be delayed, and the impact softened, if farmers start conserving water now.

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6:00am

Mon August 26, 2013
Agriculture

Farmers Look To Do More With Less Water

Tom Trout, a researcher at the U.S. Department of Agriculture who focuses on efficient and effective irrigation methods, checks sunflowers on a USDA research plot in Weld County, Colo.
Credit Luke Runyon / KUNC and Harvest Public Media

4:00am

Fri August 9, 2013
Water

Shrinking Aquifers In The San Luis Valley

One of the irrigation ditches on Shriver's farm. The ditches run dry by the end of May, which means Shriver relies solely on the aquifer for irrigation water for most of the Summer.
Maeve Conran RMCR

In early July, Colorado designated 14 counties "primary natural disaster areas" due to agricultural losses caused by the recent and ongoing drought.

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3:58pm

Wed August 7, 2013
Environment

EPA Wants To Allow Continued Wastewater Dumping In Wyoming

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 8:16 am

More than 40 years ago, the EPA banned oil companies from releasing wastewater into the environment, but made an exception for the arid West. If livestock and wildlife can use the water, companies can release it. Cows like these grazing near a stream of waste on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming are supposedly the reason the EPA lets oil companies release their waste into the environment.
Elizabeth Shogren NPR

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to let oil companies continue to dump polluted wastewater on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. This includes chemicals that companies add to the wells during hydraulic fracturing, an engineering practice that makes wells produce more oil.

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3:58pm

Tue August 6, 2013
Environment

Wells Are Running Dry In Parts Of Kansas

Originally published on Tue August 6, 2013 5:27 pm

Nate Pike fears that wells, like this one that supplies his ranch with water, will dry up completely after years of water pumping and irrigation in Kansas.
Frank Morris KCUR

Imagine enough water to fill a couple of Great Lakes, but spread under some of the driest parts of eight Western states. That was the High Plains Aquifer 60 years ago.

But now, Nate Pike, whose been riding the dry rolling ranch lands south of Dodge City, Kan., for most of his 80 years, can't even go fishing at his favorite spring called St. Jacob's Well.

"And that thing had a lot of water in it. It never went down, never changed," he says. "But as you can see now, I can't believe I can't see the water from up here."

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