Regional variability in water-level change in the High Plains aquifer underlying parts of Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming results from large regional differences in climate, soils, land use, and ground-water withdrawals for irrigation. From the beginning of significant development of the High Plains aquifer for irrigation to 1980, substantial water-level declines have occurred in several areas. The estimated average area-weighted water-level decline from predevelopment to 1980 for the High Plains was 9.9 feet, an average annual decline of about 0.25 foot. These declines exceeded 100 feet in some parts of the Central and Southern High Plains. Declines were much smaller and less extensive in the Northern High Plains as a result of later irrigation development. Since 1980, water levels in those areas of large declines in the Central and Southern High Plains have continued to decline, but at a much slower annual rate. The estimated average area-weighted water-level decline from 1980 to 1991 for the entire High Plains was 1.41 feet, an average annual decline of about 0.13 foot. The relatively small decline since 1980, in relation to the declines prior to 1980, is associated with a decrease in ground-water application for irrigated agriculture and greater than normal precipitation. Water-conserving practices and technology, in addition to reductions in irrigated acreages, contributed to the decrease in ground-water withdrawals for irrigation.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Water-level changes in the High Plains aquifer; predevelopment to 1991
Water-Resources Investigations Report
U.S. Dept. of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey ;
Books and Open-File Reports [distributor],