Thursday, July 28, 2011

Drought in the US midsection, as Ogallala Aquifer recedes

Is this a sad photo, or what?

It's one thing to read about the American drought but quite another to see it. And I can't imagine those living it. This one is out of Pratt Kansas. Pratt is about 75 miles west of Wichita in south central Kansas. The Pratt Tribune has the story:

"Pratt, KS -- Crops are dying, grass is not growing and now the situation is so bad people need to start watering their trees. Some trees in Pratt and out in the country are starting to lose their leaves now while others leaves have brown tips or are turning brown altogether, said Mark Ploger, Pratt County Extension Agent.

“It’s not disease it’s just heat and lack of moisture,” Ploger said. All plants are suffering. The grass is not growing in pastures, feed is growing but is stunted and all the dry land crops are suffering to a point that no dry land corn will be harvested in the area this year. Many farmers have already put their dry land corn into silage but it’s so dry they have to wet the corn down as it goes into the silo to start the silage process."

"The situation has gotten so bad in southwest Kansas that irrigation systems can no longer keep up with an entire circle and are now concentrating on watering just half a circle in a windshield wiper fashion, Ploger said. Insurance companies have loosened their requirements to allow farmers to take this step. The state Department of Agriculture has released CRP acres in several counties, including Pratt, so cattle will have something to eat. The fall planting season for wheat could also be in jeopardy if the area doesn’t get rain soon. Farmers can dust in the wheat crop but the farmers in southwest Kansas know that can have serious consequences without rain to get the crop up. Ranchers are also picking up the pace in weaning calves because the fall feed crop has no moisture and will not produce enough to feed the cattle all through winter."

The rest of the article is at the link. Here is a NASA satellite picture of the crop circles from 2001. The circles are one-mile in diameter.

The NASA article explains, "Resembling a work of modern art, variegated green crop circles cover what was once shortgrass prairie in southwestern Kansas. The most common crops in this region—Finney County—are corn, wheat, and sorghum." This image was captured "on June 24, 2001, accounting for the varying shades of green and yellow. Healthy, growing crops are green. Corn would be growing into leafy stalks by late June. Sorghum, which resembles corn, grows more slowly and would be much smaller and therefore, possibly paler. Wheat is a brilliant gold as harvest occurs in June. Fields of brown have been recently harvested and plowed under or lie fallow for the year."

"Farmers in this region have adopted a more efficient irrigation method, central pivot irrigation. Central pivot irrigation draws water out of a single well in the center of the field. Long pipes perched on wheels rotate around the pivot, showering the crops with water. Because the water falls directly on the crops instead of being shot into the air as occurs with traditional sprinklers, less water is lost to evaporation and more goes to nourishing the growing plants. Central pivot irrigation also creates perfectly circular fields, as seen in this image. The fields shown here are 800 and 1,600 meters (0.5 and 1 mile) in diameter."

"Like crops throughout large sections of the U.S. Midwest, these crops are partly fed by water from the Ogallala Aquifer, a giant layer of underground water. One of the largest underground repositories in the world, the Ogallala Aquifer lies under about 450,000 square kilometers of the Great Plains—an area that includes parts of eight U.S. states."

Now, the Ogallala Aquifer is something to be concerned about. "The Ogallala Aquifer is the main source of water for all uses in the Western third of the state. Counties located above the Ogallala Aquifer account for roughly 2/3 of the state’s agricultural economic value." (source). The Aquifer is drying up. FAST.

Kansas studies dwindling Ogallala Aquifer
"COLBY, Kan.-- When Rodger Funk began farming in parched western Kansas, the conventional wisdom was that water for irrigation came from an underground river and that it was inexhaustible. He heard that over and over again from his neighbors."

"They were wrong."

"Funk realized that in the late 1950s, when he and other farmers in the Garden City area met with geological researchers who had been studying the Ogallala Aquifer. “They announced the water was finite. It was geological water that had been put down a long time ago, and when it was gone, it was gone,” Funk recalled. “That was total news … but it started changing my life. I realized that we were not going to be pumping this water forever and ever.”

The High Plains Aquifer, more commonly known as the Ogallala Aquifer, lies under some 174,000 square miles in parts of eight states: South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas. And it is drying up. The Kansas Governor held a summit this week to discuss the situation. In the article about the summit, it was stated,

"For years, the Kansas Geological Survey and the state’s Division of Water Resources have measured water levels in 1,400 wells in the aquifer. The rate of decline had been lessening since the 1960s, but that changed after 2000, when another drought cycle hit western Kansas and farmers began pumping more water out of the aquifer. In southwest Kansas, where the drought has been particularly bad, well tests in January showed the water level in some parts of the aquifer had dropped more than 5 feet in a year, said Brownlie Wilson of the Kansas Geological Survey at the University of Kansas. The aquifer generally recharges only about half an inch a year. “If you see conditions like that year after year, it won’t come back in your lifetime,” Wilson said.

So no rain, no aquifer recharge, no crops, no food. No water, no topsoil, wind...equals, what? This again: Dustbowl.


What does the bible say about conditions in the tribulation? It will take a day's pay to buy a loaf of bread. Hyperinflation? Scarcity? Scarcity for sure, Rev. 6:5-6. Famine, too, Rev 6:8, Mt. 24:7. I believe we are seeing the conditions deepening dramatically that will emerge in horrendous fashion after the rapture.

But conditions for born-again believers will dramatically get much better! We will never thirst again, having the Living water to drink from. Did you know that at the Second Coming the earth's geologic configuration will change? In Jerusalem, a new river will emerge as the Mount of Olives is split. This is described in The River of Life: Zechariah 14:8; Ezekiel 47:1-12. You can read about it here and see a map of what it will look like. The river's flow begins at the Temple. It literally is a river and it literally is life from Jesus.

The river begins shallowly, gathers force and deepens, emptying into the Dead Sea, which will no longer be dead but contain teeming fish life. Fishermen will spread their nets along the sea banks to dry them from their hauls. Trees will line the river, giving fruit every month. The land itself will be revived from this water, and become lush with vegetation.

Jesus is the giver of life in every way. This earth is dying but those who are in Him live forever. Come, partake of the water of life that is a risen Jesus. Believe He died for you and your sins. Claim his redemptive work as our savior and your Lord by asking forgiveness of your sins. You will be walking along river banks of clear, pure water, in perfect joy, saved by Him who loves you so. Make the trade from the dusty drying aquifer that no longer supports life as it should, and submerge yourself under His living water that gives life forever.

4 comments:

  1. Oh, my! How sad for all of those farmers... That is alarming to see. I hadn't realized how severe it was getting.

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  2. Emily, it is heartbreaking! I knew of the Pratt Newspaper because a friend recently moved out there. Her husband is in agriculture and he blessedly got a job as field manager with a large agricultural concern. She taught me about the pivot irrigation and crop circles. I feel for them!

    This article from July 3 has more photos and the title is "Desperation is the only thing growing"
    http://www.kansas.com/2011/07/03/1919039/desperation-is-the-only-thing.html

    ReplyDelete
  3. Also, check this: it is from the Wichita Eagle, a story called "Drier than the Dustbowl Years" a video of a farm extension guy showing how the wind has already blown the topsoil away, because you can see the exposed roots of the remaining grass.
    http://videos.kansas.com/vmix_hosted_apps/p/media?id=98896321

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  4. Yes, here in Oklahoma our hearts are going out to the farmers. It's been in the triple digits for something like 6 weeks now. It's pretty crazy. Great post though,

    ReplyDelete

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