Monday, September 24, 2007

Ethanol Production Threatens Plains States With Water Scarcity

BOULDER, Colorado, September 21, 2007 (ENS) - The rapid increase in ethanol plants under construction or planned for eight key farm states is threatening to pull billions of gallons of water each year from an aquifer that is already depleted and under stress, according to a new report issued Thursday by Environmental Defense.

Authored by Martha Roberts and Theodore Toombs of the Environmental Defense Rocky Mountain office and Dr. Timothy Male, senior ecologist with the Land, Water & Wildlife Program in the group's Washington, DC office, the report takes the form of a case study of the Ogallala Aquifer region.
One of the world's largest aquifers, the Ogallala Aquifer, also known as the High Plains Aquifer, is a vast, shallow underground pool of water located beneath portions of Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming.
The Ogallala Aquifer supports the majority of irrigated agriculture in the southern Great Plains. But the water table is declining in areas where rates of groundwater pumping have far exceeded rates of replacement. The region was also the center of Dust Bowl conditions in the 1930s. Read More