"Growers are reluctantly trying to irrigate less to preserve their threatened underground aquifer."
"HOXIE, Kan.—For decades, farmers here have tapped a vast underground reservoir to irrigate their fields to grow corn, soybeans and wheat. Now they are reluctantly starting to reduce their water use, fearing a dwindling supply could otherwise make them the last generation to grow bumper crops in this arid patch of the High Plains.
While Sandy is lashing the East Coast with heavy rain, much of Kansas and other parts of the Midwest are still feeling the effects of drought. Now, the years of heavy use have severely depleted this part of the Ogallala Aquifer—one of the world's largest such subterranean water sources—to the point where some wells are drying up. Government estimates indicate there are two decades or less of adequate supply for irrigated farmland in parts of Kansas and Texas that rely on the Ogallala.
The drought that plagued much of the Midwest and Great Plains this year has added to concerns, as farmers pumped out even more of the aquifer's water than usual."