Clayton High School
Depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer
The Ogallala Aquifer is the largest national underground reservoir in the United States. It is approximately the size of California and contains an estimated 4 quadrillion liters ( 4 with 15 zero's after it) of water. this supplies water to agriculture and homes from Nebraska to Texas making it vital to the survival of the Mid-West. People have depended on the aquifer since the turn of the century and reliance on it has increased so much that the water level is dropping at a rate of about one meter per year. At this rate it is estimated that the Ogallala will be dry by the year 2020. This would mean death to the economy of most of Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, and parts of New Mexico. For our project we plan to model the Ogallala and find how future water usage will affect it. We will evaluate water usage from the Ogallala for agriculture in the High Plains area as well as usage from cities in other places. On the other hand we will take into account the natural recharge of the Ogallala through percolation of precipitation through the ground and from the Playa Lakes. Altogether this promises to be an interesting and challenging project.