Keeping the country hydrated
It’s hard to believe. The High Plains Aquifer is a vast underground system of natural water storage that spans eight states and supports nearly a third of the irrigated land in the United States. But this seemingly limitless water supply is shrinking.
That’s why Michigan State University, with the support of a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation, is doing the groundwork necessary to help create a sustainable plan for managing this vital resource. David Hyndman, professor and chairperson in the Department of Geological Sciences, is leading the four-year project involving colleagues from MSU and a team from the Kansas Geological Survey.
In addition to irrigating fields, the aquifer—which stretches from South Dakota to Texas—is essential to the drinking water supply as well as major industries, including meat and dairy. And the demands on the system are growing.
Using the mountain of available data, the researchers will reconstruct the aquifer’s history and test solutions based on their predictions and impact assessments to determine viable solutions for the future. This critical work will provide community and government leaders with information that will enable them to adjust land management policies and to make strides toward sustainable water use practices.
Read the full story.
Watch a video of David Hyndman discussing his work with the High Plains Aquifer.