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Depth-to-water measurements show levels of decline in Ogallala

Depth-to-water measurements made by the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District No. 1 indicate an average decline of 0.78 of a foot in the ground water levels of the Ogallala aquifer within the district's 6.8 million acre service area in 2001.

The 2001 average annual decline of 0.78 of a foot is 0.36 of a foot less than the 1.14 feet of decline recorded for 2000.

High Plains Water District staff made measurements in a network of more than 1,200 privately owned water wells, which were compared to measurements made in 2001 to determine the change in water levels in the Ogallala aquifer within the district.

The staff made the measurements in January and February to allow water levels to stabilize from pumpage during the previous crop growing season.

“The rate of changes in depth-to-water levels for 2001 is generally less as compared to those for 2000,” said Don McReynolds, High Plains Water District Technical Division director.

“This is likely the result of decreased pumpage during 2001 due to increased energy costs or other related economic factors or possibly timely precipitation that replaced irrigation in some areas.”

At the end of the 2001 crop season, the portion of Potter County within the High Plains Water District had a water level rise of more than a foot at 1.77 feet.

The portions of Armstrong and Crosby counties within the district recorded water level rises of less than one foot.

Lynn and Parmer Counties and the portions of Lamb and Castro counties within the district recorded water level declines of more than one foot.

Bailey, Cochran, Hale and Lubbock counties and the portions of Deaf Smith, Floyd, Hockley and Randall counties in the district reported a decline in water levels of less than one foot.

Depth-to-water level measurements indicate a five-year average annual decline of 1.03 feet and a 10-year average annual decline of 1.18 feet in water levels of the Ogallala aquifer within the district.

Copies of the April 2002 Cross Section containing the water level data are available from the High Plains Water District at 2930 Avenue Q, Lubbock, TX 79405, or by calling 806-762-0181. More information is available at or by contacting Erica Goss at [email protected].

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