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Ogallala Aquifer - Admission/Application Essay Example

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It is located in the central plains and is among the biggest aquifers in the world (Clark, 2009). It supports millions of lives because in addition to being used to support agriculture, the aquifer is…
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Depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer College Depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer The Ogallala aquifer is located in the central plains, in the UnitedStates. It is located in the central plains and is among the biggest aquifers in the world (Clark, 2009). It supports millions of lives because in addition to being used to support agriculture, the aquifer is also used for drinking water most people in these plains (Clark, 2009). For example, irrigation using water from this aquifer accounts for more than 30% of all irrigation in the United States. This paper will follow the course of depletion and the possible effects of this depletion.
As stated earlier, the aquifer provides water for irrigation for fertile but dry plains in the country. Reliance by these people suggests that the depletion of water will result in the loss of a source of livelihood for these people. In addition, these people produce food that sustains the country (Clark, 2009). Therefore, the depleting water levels not only have the potential; to deny people of their source of livelihood, but also may have negative effects on the food situation in the country (Clark, 2009).
Over the last few decades, increasing populations coupled with improving technology have seen the rate of exploitation of water from the Ogallala aquifer exceed the recharge rates. The excessive discharge suggests that there is a deficiency in the water balance that has resulted in lowering water levels. For example, the aquifer is located in arid areas with minimal rainfall and is, therefore, unable to recharge from precipitation (Clark, 2009). In addition, strong winds increase the rate of evaporation and thus minimize infiltration of rainwater into the ground. The fact that a layer of Caliches overlies the aquifer adds to its inability to recharge. These are impermeable and thus limit the ability of the aquifer to recharge (Clark, 2009). Scientists have estimated that the depleted areas will take more than one hundred thousand years to replenish through rainfall.
The situation has other possible effects on the environment. For example, in areas where the shallow aquifer is exposed, it forms artesian wells that are sources of streams and rivers (Clark, 2009). However, with time, the wells are unable to produce water without mechanical pumping. This loss of natural pressure suggests that the levels of water are reducing. In addition to added costs of pumping, the inability of water to flow out is bound to affect other aspects of the environment (Clark, 2009). For example, the numerous ecosystems that are reliant on rainwater are unable to sustain themselves.
In recent times, there has been an increased level of awareness about the potential effect of depleting or degrading this important aquifer. For example, people have started to initiate conservational efforts directed at the aquifer (Clark, 2009). For example, there is an exhibition organized by a charity that shows the viability of reducing the amount of water used for irrigation. There are cases where farmers yield a sustainable harvest using just over half the amount of water. In addition, some farmers have started to turn to other sources of water in order to preserve the aquifer and reduce the pressure placed on it.
In conclusion, at the current rates, the depletion of the aquifer is bound to dry it out eventually. A dry Ogallala Aquifer implies that, in the future, the communities that rely on the Ogallala aquifer may have to find other means to support themselves. In addition, the negative environmental consequences of the decline cannot be overstated.
Clark, M. K. (2009). Effects of high commodity prices on western Kansas crop patterns and the
Ogallala Aquifer. Manhattan, Kan.: Kansas State University. Read More
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