Circle of Blue
July 30, 2014
U.S. Irrigation Pushed Eastward By Drought and Financial Risks
U.S. Irrigation Pushed Eastward By Drought and Financial Risks

Dear *|FNAME|*,

Arkansas added two million acres of irrigated farmland in the last two decades and now is the third-largest irrigation state in the United States. But in growing acres of rice and cotton, farmers have depleted the state's primary aquifer by a quarter. Two canal projects, at a cost of $US 1.3 billion, will wean farmers from unsustainable groundwater pumping.

Arkansas is an extreme example, but the state embodies a national trend. Irrigation, long the domain of the U.S. West, is spreading eastward. This week Circle of Blue reports on the benefits and consequences of the irrigation shift.

  SUPPORT CIRCLE OF BLUE >                                         FORWARD TO A FRIEND >
A golden circle, this one near Edson, Kansas, is the tell-tale sign of an irrigated corn field ready for harvest. Farmers in the Great Plains produce some of the highest corn yields in the world thanks in part to abundant water supplies from the Ogallala Aquifer. The aquifer, however, is draining away because more water is pumped out than filters back in.
  Kansas Water District Votes on Ogallala Conservation Plan  

Using less water for agriculture is an idea spreading across the Great Plains. Photo © Brian Lehmann / Circle of Blue Farmers in the Great Plains produce some... Read More...

Posted on June 12, 2014 twitter facebook  
  Infographic: Ogallala Precipitation in Motion — 72 Years Animated GIF (1940 – 2012)  

When layered, maps of annual precipitation in Texas and Kansas show the stark moisture division in the United States between the wet East and the dry West running... Read More...

Posted on June 20, 2014 twitter facebook  
  Map: Texas and Kansas Irrigated Crop Acreage (1985-2010)  

Read The Story: Texas and Kansas Farmers Take Different Paths to Save Water Map: Ogallala Aquifer Is a Freshwater Bonanza in Decline Animated GIF: Texas and Kansas... Read More...

Posted on June 19, 2014 twitter facebook  
  Map: Texas and Kansas Water Use (1985-2005)  

The Great Plains are home to some of the largest cotton and wheat harvests in the United States. The eight-state region is also home to the country’s biggest... Read More...

Posted on June 19, 2014 twitter facebook  
Hydro Resources, a well-drilling contractor, works around the clock to punch new holes in the Ogallala Aquifer in Kansas. The Ogallala, the primary water source in the Great Plains, is declining because billions of gallons are pumped out each year to irrigate corn, soybeans, wheat, and cotton.
  Failed Ballot Measure Is Setback for Ogallala Water Conservation in Western Kansas  

A plan to reduce water use by 20 percent was voted down last week. Photo © Brian Lehmann / Circle of Blue Water spurts from a fresh well, drilled into the... Read More...

Posted on June 19, 2014 twitter facebook  
  Map: The Shrinking Ogallala Aquifer  

Irrigation brought fat harvests to the plains. But the water is disappearing. Industrial agriculture on the Great Plains began in the 1950s when mechanized pumps... Read More...

Posted on June 24, 2014 twitter facebook  
  June 9: Drought Catches Federal Reserve’s Eye  
With cattle stocks the lowest in decades, beef prices are expected to rise, as are food prices more broadly because of California’s drought, the Fed claims. ...Read more...

Posted on June 9, 2014 twitter facebook  
  June 16: A Legacy of Water Contaminated by Energy Development in the Northern Great Plains  
The Williston Basin, one of the nation’s critical bird habitats and one of its top oil-producing regions, stretches across the northern Great Plains and int ...Read more...

Posted on June 16, 2014 twitter facebook  
  June 23: Water and Energy Grab the Spotlight  
Between phrases such as “opportunity space” and “technology continuum” the authors argue that the department’s role is three-fold: researching the t ...Read more...

Posted on June 23, 2014 twitter facebook  
  The Stream: Daily Water Digest  
Daily global water news...

June 9: Heat Wave Hits Delhi’s Power and Water
June 11: U.S. Corn Crops Increasingly Threatened by Climate Change,
June 16: Discovery of Huge Amounts of Water in Earth’s Mantle
June 17: Floods Cost Nepal More Than $230 Million Each Year
June 19: One Quarter of India’s Land Becoming Desert
June 24: Water Scarcity to Create Conflict in Middle East and Africa
June 25: Human Rights Groups Ask UN to Stop Detroit Water Shutoffs
June 26: Hydropower Still Large Part of Chile’s Plans for Energy
June 27: 71% of Global Population Satisfied with Water Quality


AUS Groundwater = $ Billions
AUS Groundwater = $ Billions
CA Ground & Surface Reserves
CA Ground & Surface Reserves
Groundwater Loss in CORiver
Groundwater Loss in CORiver
© 2014 Circle of Blue
Forward to a friend
Subscribe / Unsubscribe
About Circle of Blue
Contact Us
Ethics & Sponsorships
Submit News

Circle of Blue | 1200 West 11th Street | Traverse City, MI 49684 | US +1.202.351-6870