Farmers are afraid using the water source at current rates could eventually end irrigated agriculture and devastate communities that rely on it, leaving the next generation with few options, Mark Peters of The Wall Street Journal reports. Farmers in the High Plains face "a larger challenge for irrigated agriculture," Peters writes. Irrigation accounts for about one-third of annual water demand, and competition for water increases along with population.
Farmers who rely on the Ogallala agree that changes need to be made, but the devil is in the details, Peters reports. The High Plains Water Conservation District in Texas will start limiting water withdrawals in 2014. Some farmers in Kansas, where agreements have been made to cut water use, fear farmers in other states won't follow suit. Drawing boundaries on which fields can be irrigated and which should not be is drawing the most farmer ire, and concerns about water supply are "particularly acute" in western Kansas and northern Texas, where irrigation has long been used. (Read more)