Evaluating NRCS Water Conservation Practice Impacts over the Ogallala Aquifer
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
Video Not Available
The Ogallala Aquifer Initiative (OAI) is a multi-state effort designed to reduce the quantity of water withdrawn from the Ogallala aquifer and to reduce nitrate leaching to the aquifer. OAI is an Initiative funded through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program administered by NRCS. The OAI objectives are accomplished through implementation of improved cropping systems and conservation practices. These conservation practices are geared towards improved irrigation water management, crop residue and tillage management, nutrient and pesticide management, brush management, proper grazing systems and playa wetland and associated watershed restorations.This presentation will describe the effectiveness of practices implemented through the OAI and compare them to practices implemented through general conservation programs. It will compare the physical effectiveness of OAI and general conservation practices in reducing the quantity of water withdrawn from the aquifer. Information on practice implementation cost, both Federal and estimated total, will be included to determine the cost effectiveness of the practices deployed. The presentation will outline the methods used to determine the reductions in water withdrawn from the Ogallala Aquifer and how effective the improved cropping systems and conservation practices are when meeting the objectives of this initiative. The analysis is based on modeled water use, local implementation expertise, and program administrative data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service. The administrative data will be used to discuss trends in financial assistance/technical assistance to address agricultural water conservation concerns and the associated practices implemented. These results will be of interest to anyone who is interested in reducing agricultural water withdrawals, especially in Ogallala Aquifer region.