Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts says Nebraska has kept its portion of the massive Ogallala aquifer stable despite a report the aquifer is draining rapidly underneath neighboring states.
The Denver Post reports that it analyzed federal data and found the Ogallala aquifer shrank twice as fast over the past six years compared with the previous 60. The Post says the declining aquifer under eight states is drying up steams, causing fish to disappear and threatening the livelihood of farmers who rely on it for their crops.
Ricketts says however, that Nebraska has really focused on water management through the 23 NRD’s since the 1970’s. Ricketts says the aquifer statewide is “very healthy” and basically at the same level it was in the 1950’s.
The aquifer underlies 175,000 square miles including portions of Colorado, Wyoming Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas.
The U.S. Geological Survey said in a June report that the aquifer lost 10.7 million acre-feet of storage between 2013 and 2015.
Water levels in the aquifer have reportedly been dropping for decades as irrigators pump water faster than rainfall can recharge it.