POSTPONED: Ogallala Aquifer Summit to tackle tough ag water questions

THIS SUMMIT HAS BEEN POSTPONED. Scheduling updates for the event will be posted on the 2020 Ogallala Aquifer Summit website. 

This year’s Ogallala Aquifer Summit theme is “Tackling Tough Questions,” especially on agricultural water use and management.

Speakers will include water management leaders from all eight of the Ogallala Aquifer states: Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, South Dakota and Wyoming. Water stakeholders from those states are encouraged to attend.

“The Ogallala Aquifer is hugely important, not just for Texas, but for an eight-state region,” said Dr. Reagan Waskom, co-director of the Ogallala Water Coordinated Agriculture Project (Ogallala Water CAP), summit co-chair and director of the Colorado State University’s Colorado Water Center.

“Because it’s a shared resource, it’s going to take collective action in order to prolong the life of the aquifer and to help these communities that depend upon it to find a sustainable pathway to their future,” Waskom added.

The 2020 summit aims to build on the groundwork laid by the inaugural 2018 Ogallala Aquifer Summit. The program has been designed to increase networking among water-focused community members, encourage efforts to support agricultural productivity and ag water management, and identify a common vision across state lines to benefit the aquifer and communities that depend upon it.

Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI)’s director, Dr. John Tracy, will present the summit’s kickoff keynote, asking how people can sustain an economy with an unsustainable resource and how water users can drive change rather than reacting to it.

“Many agricultural systems in the West depend on irrigation using a dwindling water resource,” Tracy said. “People often respond to resource loss by either fighting against changing their practices or accepting change by continuing the practices they’ve been using until they can’t anymore.”

Tracy’s talk will highlight examples of agricultural water users who proactively drove change ease the transition into a new economy.

“The point is to think about what you can do to drive the change and not just wait for it to happen.”

Other summit events will include a recap of the progress made since the 2018 summit, an overview of ag water management, an evening social on Monday ending with a screening of a portion of the film “Rising Water,” panel discussions with water managers and stakeholders and several interactive sessions focused on agricultural water management decisions.

The summit was originally planned to be held in late March, but is tentatively being rescheduled for December. For more information, including detailed agenda and scheduling updates, please visit the Ogallala Aquifer Summit website.

This event is open to credentialed members of the media. Please RSVP to Katie.ingels@kwo.ks.gov or amy.kremen@colostate.edu

TWRI is supporter of the 2020 Ogallala Aquifer Summit. The Ogallala Aquifer Summit is a program of the Ogallala Water CAP. The Ogallala Water CAP, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institutes for Food and Agriculture, is a collaboration between Colorado State, Texas A&M, West Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Kansas State universities, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and USDA Agricultural Research Service.

Authors

As communications manager for TWRI, Kerry Halladay provides leadership for the institute's communications, including a magazine, newsletters, brochures, social media, media relations and special projects. 

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