Ogallala Aquifer Program receives water conservation award
The Ogallala Aquifer Program, a university and federal agency research-education consortium, recently received the Save Texas Water Blue Legacy Award in Agriculture from the Water Conservation Advisory Council.
Program leaders accepted the award at the Texas Commodity Symposium on Nov. 28 held in conjunction with the Amarillo Farm and Ranch Show.
According to Dr. David Brauer, research agronomist with the USDA's Agricultural Research Service and manager of the program, the Ogallala Aquifer Program was created by Congress in 2003 to find solutions to problems arising from declining water levels in the High Plains aquifer.
Brauer said the program includes approximately 80 state and federal scientists from the Agricultural Research Service, Kansas State University, Texas A&M University through Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Texas Tech University and West Texas A&M University.
"Researchers and educators are conducting research and developing water conservation technologies that will lead to continued sustainability of the $4 billion agricultural economy of the Texas Panhandle," Brauer said.
Dr. Kevin Wagner, the Texas Water Resources Institute's associate director and Texas A&M's representative on the program's leadership team, said the Blue Legacy Award annually recognizes outstanding water conservation efforts and successes of the agriculture community.
"For the Ogallala Aquifer Program to win this award illustrates the progress and achievements that have been made in promoting water conservation while helping to maintain or improve the profitability of farming and the prosperity of farming communities in the Texas High Plains," Wagner said. "The institute is proud to support the Texas A&M AgriLife researchers and Extension specialists involved in this important program."
Dr. John Sweeten, resident director of the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Amarillo, said that in addition to developing water conservation technologies for agricultural producers, the program provides scientifically based data and knowledge.
"Using this information, both farmers and policymakers can make effective decisions regarding water use and conservation," Sweeten said.
Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension personnel at Amarillo and Lubbock extensively involved in the Ogallala Aquifer Program include Dr.Steve Amosson; Jim Bordovsky, P.E.; Dr.Ken Casey; Dr.Paul DeLaune; Nicholas Kenny, P.E.; Dr.Shuyu Liu; Thomas Marek, P.E.; Dr. Jaroy Moore; Dr.Seong Park; David Pointer; Dr. Dana Porter; Dr.Pat Porter; Dr.Nithya Rajan; Dr.Charlie Rush and Dr.Qingwu Xue.
According to the council, award winners were selected based on their demonstrated willingness and commitment to incorporate water conservation practices into their operations as well as their leadership in furthering water conservation in their communities or within the industry. This year's award selection committee consisted of Water Conservation Advisory Council members representing the Texas Farm Bureau, Texas Department of Agriculture, Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture–Natural Resources Conservation Service.