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The Real Reason Kansas Is Running Out of Water

Unitedwestand13

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The Real Reason Kansas Is Running Out of Water | Mother Jones

Like dot-com moguls in the '90s and real estate gurus in the 2000s, farmers in western Kansas are enjoying the fruits of a bubble: Their crop yields have been boosted by a gusher of soon-to-vanish irrigation water. That's the message of a new study by Kansas State University researchers. Drawing down their region's groundwater at more than six times the natural rate of recharge, farmers there have managed to become so productive that the area boasts "the highest total market value of agriculture products" of any congressional district in the nation, the authors note. Those products are mainly beef fattened on large feedlots; and the corn used to fatten those beef cows.

But they're on the verge of essentially sucking dry a large swath of the High Plains Aquifer, one of the United States' greatest water resources. The researchers found that 30 percent of the region's groundwater has been tapped out, and if present trends continue, another 39 percent will be gone within 50 years. As the water stock dwindles, of course, pumping what's left gets more and more expensive—and farming becomes less profitable and ultimately uneconomical. But all isn't necessarily lost. The authors calculate that if the region's farmers can act collectively and cut their water use 20 percent now, their farms would produce less and generate lower profits in the short term, but could sustain corn and beef farming in the area into the next century.

I know this sounds like madness to people who might aproove of the farmers success, But.... stop producing so much corn or you are going to run out of water!
 

radioman

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It has been my observation that short term unsustainable benefits trump long term permanent success every time. Plus this is Kansas. They view any type of reasonable behavior with aversion. Furthermore since this was a college study they'll just view it as a liberal agenda trying to cut into their profit.
 

APACHERAT

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Same water problem in Cali's San Joaquin Valley.
Unfortunately, the aquifers underlying the SJV are collapsing and will never be renewed.
Add in desertification, toxic run-off, drought and we've got a big problem.
Think Mesopotamia.

Further south in SoCal, there's more people than there's enough water for. The libs response was establishing a sub division of the PC Police with the Water Police who drive through the neigborhoods looking for citizens who are washing their cars in their drive ways or are watering their lawns. Yep, government even tells you on what days and during what hours you can water your tulips. Break the law, pay a big fine or go to jail

The citizens yell this is BS. What do the libs in Sacramento do, they yell to Mexico and say send us another 10 million of your losers and we will give them drivers licenses.

There's not enough water in California to support any more people.
 

specklebang

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This is how we conserve water in Nevada:roll:
imgres.jpeg
 

longview

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At the most basic level the lack of fresh water is likely to cause us harm long before AGW.
 

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It seems like a no brainer, draw water from the aquifer faster than it recharges and you will dry it up but my personal experience with this muddies the water a bit. My land has 8 springs one of which provides my house water. I bought this place 5 years ago during a rather dry period and a couple of the springs were down to a trickle. The guy I bought from said they used to run a lot heavier 10 years ago. Then after owning here maybe 3 years a couple of springs dried up and my house spring was slowing down so needless to say I was concerned. I started cursing the farmers in the valley with all their constant irrigation and blamed them for my springs going dry. Then we had a couple of heavy winters and all my springs ran heavy again and a couple of new ones even popped up. This makes me wonder about the aquifer recharge rate and how accurate that measurement really is. Seems to me a couple of good precip years fills the aquifer up again and there is no actual "recharge rate" you can accurately estimate. This is just anecdotal evidence though and I could of course be wrong.
 

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It seems like a no brainer, draw water from the aquifer faster than it recharges and you will dry it up but my personal experience with this muddies the water a bit. My land has 8 springs one of which provides my house water. I bought this place 5 years ago during a rather dry period and a couple of the springs were down to a trickle. The guy I bought from said they used to run a lot heavier 10 years ago. Then after owning here maybe 3 years a couple of springs dried up and my house spring was slowing down so needless to say I was concerned. I started cursing the farmers in the valley with all their constant irrigation and blamed them for my springs going dry. Then we had a couple of heavy winters and all my springs ran heavy again and a couple of new ones even popped up. This makes me wonder about the aquifer recharge rate and how accurate that measurement really is. Seems to me a couple of good precip years fills the aquifer up again and there is no actual "recharge rate" you can accurately estimate. This is just anecdotal evidence though and I could of course be wrong.

I think you're on to something. Although a disaster, imagine how much water has been put into the aquifers running out from under Bolder, Colorado.
 

longview

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Only a moron would want to food for anything other than sustenance.
I agree, the whole concept of making transport fuel from our food supply seemed like poor planning.
 

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I agree, the whole concept of making transport fuel from our food supply seemed like poor planning.

Why not use Kudzu or bamboo or sugar cane instead?
 

longview

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Why not use Kudzu or bamboo or sugar cane instead?

My guess is that corn is easier to process, it grows all over the US, and lastly--Iowa. If Louisiana had as much political influence as Iowa, we might be using more sugar cane.
 

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Lord knows we are not like likely to run out of kudzu or even tallow trees.
I favor making our hydrocarbons from scratch.
Fueling the Fleet, Navy Looks to the Seas - U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
Hydrocarbons solve the energy storage problems for most of the alternative energy sources.
They have a good shelve life, and our infrastructure is already set up to handle them.

That technology sounds very promising. If they can make it work, it could be a game changer, globally..
 

Muhammed

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It has been my observation that short term unsustainable benefits trump long term permanent success every time. Plus this is Kansas. They view any type of reasonable behavior with aversion.
People who think producing food is totally unreasonable should go on a hunger strike until they die.

Furthermore since this was a college study they'll just view it as a liberal agenda trying to cut into their profit.
Well, to be fair, when it's ostensibly a scientific study about an aquifer and instead they start talking about a congressional district, the likelihood of it the study being worthless leftonut propaganda increases exponentially.
 

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Why not use Kudzu or bamboo or sugar cane instead?

Why not use natural gas or some of the crude currently being restricted to make alternate energy seem more affordable? Or nuclear?
 

longview

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That technology sounds very promising. If they can make it work, it could be a game changer, globally..
I started hearing the first talk of this technology out of Germany about 5 years ago.
Germans plan to make 'synthetic natural' gas from CO2
Someone is using a time honored Science technique of coping the way nature
Nature does something, except this time it is with energy storage.
It may prove to be a path to truly sustainable energy, Unfortunately the AGW
movement has been demonizing the storage medium (Hydrocarbons).
 

ecofarm

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It simply takes too much water to grow a steak. In a new report, leading water scientists say the human population would have to switch to an almost entirely vegetarian diet by 2050 to avoid catastrophic global food and water shortages.

"There will not be enough water available … to produce food for the expected 9 billion population in 2050 if we follow current trends," Malin Falkenmark and colleagues at the Stockholm International Water Institute stated in the report. By their estimation, there should be just enough water to go around if humans derive just 5 percent of their calories from animal-based foods by midcentury, instead of the 20 percent of calories that they currently get from meat, eggs and dairy.

It's a simple numbers game: Cattle, for example, consume a shocking 17 times more grain calories than they produce as meat calories. All that lost grain (which humans could have eaten) requires water. "Producing food requires more water than any other human activity — and meat production is very water-intensive," Josh Weinberg, the institute's communications officer, told Life's Little Mysteries.

Will People Really Be Forced to Stop Eating Meat? | Vegetarianism | LiveScience

I figure Americans get more than 20% of their calories from animal products.
 

gslack

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I started hearing the first talk of this technology out of Germany about 5 years ago.
Germans plan to make 'synthetic natural' gas from CO2
Someone is using a time honored Science technique of coping the way nature
Nature does something, except this time it is with energy storage.
It may prove to be a path to truly sustainable energy, Unfortunately the AGW
movement has been demonizing the storage medium (Hydrocarbons).

Of course they demonize it. Something like this would restore the CO2 balance and then they couldn't tax it..
 
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