Ogallala Aquifer Virtual Summit to tackle tough questions on water conservation

Aerial view agricultural activites in the Haxton, Colorado area using water supplied by the Ogallala Aquifer

On Feb. 24 and 25, producers and water management leaders will grab their coffee cups, fire up their devices, and wade into a series of highly interactive conversations designed to tackle tough questions faced by communities that rely on the declining Ogallala aquifer resource.

For example, what on-farm, district, or state-level decisions and policies could support shifts in water management to ensure future generations will be able to continue to farm and live in the Ogallala region? What can be done so that rural communities remain vital in parts of the region where aquifer depletion means irrigated agriculture will no longer serve as an economic backbone in coming years?

The event is being led by the Ogallala Water Coordinated Agriculture Project team, headquartered at CSU and funded by the National Institute for Food and Agriculture. Other participants are the Kansas Water Office, Texas A&M AgriLife, the USDA-Agricultural Research Service-supported Ogallala Aquifer Program, and individuals in all eight Ogallala states.

The event will serve as the capstone outreach event for Ogallala Water Coordinated Agriculture Project, an interdisciplinary, collaborative research and outreach project. The project has been under way since 2016 and involves researchers from nine institutions based in six of eight Ogallala states.

Read more about the team’s recent findings.

Topics covered during the summit will include project updates, new programs, activities and policies that were inspired by a previous Ogallala summit held in Garden City, Kansas in April 2018. Together, participants will share their expertise and identify opportunities and gaps requiring attention, as well as expanded collaboration within and across state lines to benefit agriculture and the region’s communities.

“The summit provides a unique opportunity to strengthen collaborations among a diverse range of water-focused stakeholders,” said summit co-chair Meagan Schipanski, associate professor in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at Colorado State University and co-leader of the Ogallala project. “Exploring where we have a common vision and identifying innovative concepts or practices already being implemented can catalyze additional actions with potential to benefit the aquifer and Ogallala region communities over the short- and long-term.”

If you go

Registration for the summit is $40; the fee for producers and students attending the two-day event is $20. Participants from each of the eight states overlying the Ogallala aquifer will be represented: South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas. A detailed schedule of the event is available at https://www.ogallalawater.org/. Members of the media are invited to attend.

Register for the event Ogallala Water Virtual Summit here