Depletion of Ogallala aquifer empties streams

The Ogallala Aquifer (NBC File Photo)
The Ogallala Aquifer (NBC File Photo)

LAWRENCE, Kansas (AP) — The depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer is causing western Kansas to lose many of its perennial streams.

A water expert said at a workshop in Lawrence this week that many streams in western Kansas used to be fed by the aquifer because its water table was higher than the streams. But because the aquifer’s water table has dropped 3 feet of more below the stream beds, most of the streams are now dry year round.

Kansas Geological Survey geohydrology section chief Jim Butler called it a tremendous loss to the state’s ecosystem.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Butler said the problems could be solved if western Kansas farmers pumped less water by using techniques such as no-till.

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