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ARS Home » Plains Area » Bushland, Texas » Conservation and Production Research Laboratory » Soil and Water Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #310346

Title: Texas Irrigation Situation

item Brauer, David

Submitted to: American Peanut Research and Education Society Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/10/2014
Publication Date: 7/8/2014
Citation: Brauer, D.K. 2014. Texas Irrigation Situation [abstract]. American Peanut Research and Education Society Abstracts. Program Booklet Page No. 3.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The irrigation situation in Texas is an interaction between hydrology and water policies. In 2012, according to National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS) four High Plains counties, Gainesville, Yoakum, Terry and Cochran, accounted for approximately 60% of the 150,000 acres of peanut production in Texas. Monitored water use in Terry County indicates that peanuts on the Texas High Plains require on average 18.5 inches of irrigation water per acre annually, indicating that peanuts are a thirsty crop. Much of this irrigation water is from the Ogallala Aquifer, which is being depleted faster than it is being recharged. A major change in Texas water law occurred recently when the state assembly required water planning areas to establish defined future conditions for the major aquifer in their areas. A defined future condition is a forecast of what the aquifer will look like in 50 years. Many of the desired future conditions were defined in 2010 as the percent of water in storage to be remaining in 2060. This state law also empowered groundwater conservation district to create rules to meet defined future conditions. Although all four of the peanut growing counties are in the same water planning area, they are in four different groundwater districts, each with its own defined future condition for the Ogallala Aquifer. Each of the four desired future conditions will enable current peanut farmers to continue to irrigate well into the future; however without changes in withdrawals or aquifer recharge, little or no water will be available for irrigation by 2060. Future advances in the use of saline groundwater or aquifer storage and recovery offer hope of extending irrigated peanut production beyond 2060.