The Ogallala Aquifer: Water Scarcity on the Texas High Plains (VIDEO)

We will have to develop much more sustainable, or durable forms of food production because the way we have done things up to now are no longer as viable as they once appeared to be. -- Prince Charles' speech on the future of food, May 4th, 2011

On the southern high plains of Texas, on a time-scale less than an average human lifetime, growing concerns over water scarcity are playing out. In this semi-arid region of the country that represents the largest contiguous land mass dedicated for production agriculture, the total annual rainfall may be 18 inches, or in some years, substantially less. Since the rainfall is not distributed evenly over the growing season, or to be counted upon when most needed, the majority of the agricultural production (around 70 percent of food and fiber grown in this region) comes from irrigated lands.

This short documentary provides a glimpse into an unusually important, and long-running research and demonstration project, called the Texas Coalition for Sustainable Integrated Systems Research (TeCSIS) and the Texas Alliance for Water Conservation (TAWC) that started with a grant from SARE to form TeCSIS. This combined project (TeCSIS/TAWC) involves scores of scientific researchers, educational institutions, government agencies, and local area farmers (producers) that are trying to find answers to extend the life of the Ogallala Aquifer, and promote more sustainable, economic viability for this invaluable agricultural region.

Read more on Cooking Up a Story.