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Posted Fri Feb 26 2010: from Daily Kansan:
Decreasing water levels raise problems
But these days in southern Meade County, located about five hours southwest of Lawrence, the Ross farm is restricted by declining water levels. Old sprinklers stand in fields with no chance of spreading water over the crops. Streams, creeks and ponds slowly turn to dust, revealing the lack of water available. As the water levels drop, these sights will become more common. Since 1996, the water levels in southwest Kansas have declined, except for a 1.2-inch increase in 1998, said Brownie Wilson, Geographic Info System and support services manager at Kansas Geological Survey. Irrigation started in the 1950s and '60s, and with the ability to obtain and use more water, large-scale production soaked up the water in the underground Ogallala aquifer. Increased water usage allowed Kansas' agriculture industry to make millions.... Wells averaged water level drops of 2 to 5 feet, but drops as low as 10 feet occurred in some areas of southwest Kansas this year, said Wilson. Though the water levels are visibly receding, the Kansas Division of Water Resources records the water movements every year so the exact amount of the decrease is known. So far, results have shown decreasing water levels throughout the state, except for a surprising increase in northwest Kansas, Wilson said.
[Read more stories about: aquifers depletion, corporate farming]

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