The Ogallala Aquifer is one of the main groundwater sources for the Great Plains, supplying water from South Dakota to Midland Texas, but its existence is threatened. However, even though there is a water shortage, there are many viable options farmers can pursue as a solution. Creating alternative water sources, implementing new farming techniques, and improving your operations with the help of farm refinancing can protect your crops and livestock from a water shortage as the aquifer dries up. Here’s what to expect from the depletion of the aquifer.
Ogallala Aquifer Depletion Will Change Life in the Great Plains
The Ogallala Aquifer plays a key role in Midwestern life and agriculture. However, as more resources are drawn from the aquifer, the water level is decreasing with no chance of replenishment due to its unique geology drastically limiting water from entering. It’s estimated it would take 6,000 years to refill the aquifer.
The biggest consequences that will be seen with aquifer depletion have to do with the amount of and quality of water available. The water shortage that will result will affect agricultural land as well as urban areas. With water unable to enter the aquifer, depletion is only a matter of time as we continue to draw upon this limited resource. As supplies dwindle we will see:
- Deterioration in water quality due to saline contamination of the water supply
- A lower water table requiring deeper wells and expensive pumping
- Smaller volumes of water in streams, rivers, lakes, and wetlands throughout the region
- An increasing amount of land subsidence as soil loses underground support
What This Means
Essentially, depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer means there is going to be a lot less water, even reaching critical levels. Less water means people, crops, and livestock will not have enough water. Getting water is going to become more expensive as wells dry up, wells are dug deeper, and more energy is spent pumping water. The land will eventually begin to dry up and irrigation will become difficult. This, in turn, will make farming more difficult and will threaten food supplies.
Reliving the Past
A depleted Ogallala Aquifer means reverting back to the way pioneers once used the land. Rather than planting crops and raising livestock as though there is an unlimited supply of water, consolidating your debt can help get you the needed capital to shift your operations to incorporate more crops that require less water and work well with surface irrigation.
What Can Be Done
The aquifer itself cannot be replenished within our lifetime. However, there are things that can be done to minimize water usage. Implementing these efforts can lessen the impact of the growing water shortage:
- Rotate crops
- Diversify crops
- Limited irrigation
- Modern farming techniques
Shifting to techniques that use less water, such as hydroponics, can be expensive. Farm refinancing can provide the necessary capital for the additional buildings and equipment required to implement such techniques. Implementing new crops and irrigation techniques are also possible and important components in surviving the impending water shortage in the Great Plains.
Protect Your Farm and Your Livelihood
As an expert in farm refinancing, AgAmerica understands the difficulties that come from making substantial changes in your operations. Our loan officers are ready to help you get the extra capital needed to make these changes a reality. Give us a call today to discuss what farm refinancing options are available for your farm.