By Yanqi Xu
Flatwater Free Press 

Ogallala Aquifer continues to shrink in southwest Nebraska


April 27, 2023

Courtesy Photo

Research • Aaron Young measures water level in an observation well south of Firth. The UNL professor and researcher has been taking water levels in the spring for years to produce the statewide groundwater-level monitoring report. His team monitors thousands of wells throughout the state.

Last summer, Imperial farmer Dirk Haarberg made the hard decision to let some of his milo crop die. The heat and the wind had proven too much and Haarberg needed to save water for his other cornfields.

Haarberg's water pumps also ran nonstop, he said during an interview, drawing more water than usual from the Ogallala Aquifer to feed the thirsty crops he was keeping alive.

"We don't overwater, but when it was as dry as it was last summer, there's not much you can do but just water 24 hours a day," said Haarberg.

Decades of irrigating in a relatively dry area has taken a toll on the groundwater...

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