Water quality in central and eastern Kansas and water quantity in western Kansas are important issues. Current irrigation trends could deplete 69 percent of the groundwater in the Ogallala Aquifer within 50 years, drastically affecting the Kansas economy. Sediment and silt are washing into large reservoirs that supply drinking water and recreation to many Kansans. Researchers and extension specialists are tackling these very important issues.
What We Are Doing
- Breeding new drought-tolerant crop varieties that can be used for human and pet food, livestock feed, and fuel.
- Developing more efficient irrigation and water monitoring systems for home and farm use.
- Reducing runoff and sedimentation into reservoirs.
- Improving livestock genetics to increase feeding efficiency, which reduces feed and water needs.
- Working with the State of Kansas and partnering with stakeholders to develop a new 50-year water plan.
- Subsurface drip irrigation uses up to 25 percent less water than traditional irrigation methods and helps address water issues throughout the state.
- Developed technology to schedule irrigation, determine which crops to plant, predict crop yield, and evaluate fuel costs.
- Educated landowners on how to reduce runoff and protect surface water that supplies drinking water to just over 60 percent of Kansans.