The Ogallala Aquifer, sprawled out beneath eight states in the heart of the US, is being depleted with mathematical certainty. Spanning 111.8 million acres and 175,000 square miles, this vital aquifer feeds the sophisticated agricultural region from South Dakota through Nebraska and Kansas to the Texas panhandle.
As NBC News recently declared, “If the American Breadbasket cannot help supply ever-growing food demands, billions could starve.”
“The depletion of the Ogallala is an internationally important crisis,” said Burke Griggs, Ph.D., consulting professor at Stanford University, stating how populations around the world rely on the agricultural production of the breadbasket region of the US. “How individual states manage the depletion of that aquifer will obviously have international consequences.”
Parts of the aquifer have already dried up and receded. A farmer in the Texas panhandle named Lucas Spinhirne attests to this. Just a decade ago, water flowed boundlessly under his farmland. By 2011, that water had all been pumped out, leaving Spinhirne only one source of water for his wheat and sorghum crops — the rainwater from the sky.
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