Bennet: USDA Invests $6.5 million in Ogallala Aquifer Region


Money will be Used to Conserve Water and Improve Water Quality

WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 18, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet applauded U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack’s announcement of $6.5 million in funding for the Ogallala Aquifer region to help conserve billions of gallons water and improve quality.

The Ogallala Aquifer underlies eight states on the Great Plains, including Colorado’s Eastern Plains, and supports nearly one-fifth of the wheat, cotton, corn, and cattle produced in the U.S. The North High Plains ground water basin in Colorado has been prioritized along with regions in Kansas and New Mexico. The Colorado funding will be used to help producers install new, more efficient irrigation technologies and to develop incentive programs for producers to conserve water.

“The water supplied by the Ogallala Aquifer is essential for supporting agriculture on the Eastern Plains and providing drinking water to much of the West,” Bennet said.“Unfortunately, the aquifer is being depleted at an unsustainable rate, jeopardizing our producers, economy, and communities. Coloradans know that water is a valuable resource and this investment will help conserve 2.1 billion gallons of water in our state alone.”

The Ogallala Aquifer covers more than 174,000 square miles and was formed more than one million years ago. Through the Ogallala Aquifer Initiative, the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service is investing in targeted, local efforts to improve the quality and availability of this crucial water supply.

Last Congress, as the chair of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources, Bennet helped write and pass the Farm Bill with a revamped conservation title that added emphasis not only on water quality but also on water quantity as a priority for the Natural Resources Conservation Service.