We’ve heard talk before about the impending doom with the Ogallala aquifer if something isn’t done to curb irrigation withdrawals in the Great Plains. Although precision technology can make a big difference in boosting water-use efficiency, not enough farmers are using these kinds of tools, unfortunately.
Just like with no-till, cover crops or anything else in production farming, peer pressure can be a major driver of change and innovation. So if you’re wanting to do something about the water-use situation in your area and be a driver of change, this might be your chance.
Water Technology Farms are an action item of the Long-Term Vision for the Future of Water Supply in Kansas to help address Kansas water issues. The Kansas Water Office (KWO) program began 4 years ago with three farms, and currently there are 15 farms on more than 40 fields throughout the state but concentrated overlying the Ogallala or High Plains aquifer.
KWO says it plans to add a limited number of new technology farms and is currently accepting initial notice of interest for the 2020 growing season. The deadline for initial interest is Nov. 15.
KWO says the 3-year pilot public-private partnerships demonstrate irrigation technology, research and management techniques and have been valuable in expanding the conversation and education of producers and decision makers on water conservation in areas overlying the depleting Ogallala Aquifer and water quality protection in the Equus Beds Aquifer region.
Farms in a Water Conservation Area or a Local Enhanced Management Area — as well as other documented conservation programs — will be prioritized for consideration. Access to land as well as data records are required as part of the effort.
These Water Technology Farms wouldn’t be possible without key public-private partnerships with more than 100 sponsors. Visit www.kwo.ks.gov to learn about the existing farms and past results. Those interested in participating, or wanting more information, should contact Armando Zarco, KWO Water Resource Planner, at (620) 765-7485.