The Ogallala aquifer is a vast underground water source that people used to believe was endless. Extensive water pumping for crop irrigation proved that belief to be false, as sections of the aquifer began running dry.
In 2012, a group of Kansas farmers decided to test their farming mettle by cutting their water use by 20 percent, which means they pumped a lot less water. Five years later, the results show that, not only did reducing their water use help the aquifer, in some cases they increased their profits!
According to Bill Golden, a Kansas State University professor and author of a new economic analysis about the farmers’ efforts, “It’s a challenge to get producers to accept that. But the evidence shows that they can use less water and be profitable.”