A new multi-state research project will look at the sustainable use of the Ogallala Aquifer for food production.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is one member of the four-year, nearly $10 million partnership.
Daran Rudnick, UNL irrigation engineering specialist, says the goal is to improve forecast models to better manage water use.
“And that, primarily, comes back to the fact that each state has its own means of managing the Ogallala or groundwater,” Rudnick tells Nebraska Radio Network, “so it’s sometimes challenging for us to develop recommendations, since it’s not necessarily representative across the whole region.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is funding the research, which should help policymakers and food producers implement best practices for taking water out of the aquifer.
“It is a perfect opportunity,” Rudnick says. “We have engineers, agronomists, economists, sociologists. There are a lot of components that we have to take into consideration when we do a project like this and it’s fantastic that we have the opportunity.”
A survey of producers and rural community leaders is part of the effort to find out what challenges they are facing.