High Plains Aquifer Groundwater Levels Continue to Decline

High Plains Aquifer Groundwater Levels Continue to Decline
 
The U.S. Geological Survey has released a new report detailing changes of groundwater levels in the High Plains Aquifer. The report presents water-level change data in the aquifer for two separate periods: from 1950 – the time prior to significant groundwater irrigation development – to 2013, and 2011 to 2013.
“The measurements made from 2011 to 2013 represent a large decline,” said Virginia McGuire, USGS scientist and lead author of the study. “This amount of aquifer depletion over a 2-year period is substantial and likely related to increased groundwater pumping.”
In 2011, the total water stored in the aquifer was about 2.92 billion acre-feet, an overall decline of about 267 million acre-feet (or 8 percent) since pre-development. Change in water stored from 2011 to 2013 was an overall decline of 36.0 million acre-feet. The overall average water-level decline in the aquifer was 15.4 feet from pre-development to 2013, and 2.1 feet from 2011 to 2013.
The USGS study used water-level measurements from 3,349 wells for pre-development to 2013 and 7,460 wells for the 2011 to 2013 study period.
More information available on the USGS Newsroom: http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=4077&from=rss#.VKAv214AAA