New Waves March 2009

Breaking news about water resources research and education in Texas

Texas AgriLife helps district evaluate water conservation

The North Plains Groundwater Conservation District is facing some critical water supply issues and has asked Texas AgriLife Extension Service to aid in a study about potential water conservation policies for the district.

"Dallam, Hartley, Sherman, and Moore counties, which lie in the western portion of the district, are currently projected to fall short of having 50 percent of their groundwater remaining in 50 years," said Steven Walthour, the North Plains Groundwater Conservation District general manager.

"The board of directors know that decisions to manage the district's groundwater may have profound effects on farming practices of the area and the overall economy of the area," Walthour said. "Texas AgriLife Extension has the expertise to conduct a socio-economic impact study to determine the effects of different groundwater management strategies that might be considered for implementation."

Texas AgriLife Extension economist in Amarillo, Dr. Stephen Amosson, will lead the study with a goal to develop and update economic optimization and socio-economic models for each of the eight counties in the district.

Results of the study will provide insight into changes in producer income and saturated thickness of the aquifer as well as impacts from each conservation strategy evaluated on regional economic activity, income, and employment, Walthour said. The information gleaned from the study will aid the district's board as it manages the groundwater within the district in the future, he said.

The study is sponsored by the groundwater conservation district, Texas Corn Producers Board, Texas Farm Bureau, Texas Cattle Feeders Association, and Texas Association of Dairymen.

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