May 31, 2012
Key farming regions in the US are drawing water from underground sources at unsustainable rates, with slightly more than one-third of the southern Great Plains at risk of tapping out its sources within the next 30 years.
In the high plains, where the aquifer spans several states, individual water districts in each state may have different approaches to management, notes Ken Rainwater, director of the Water Resources Center at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. Some districts have set up mandatory conservation schemes; others take voluntary guidelines.
Just as with oil producers, landowners can get at a tax break from the federal government to help offset the effect lower groundwater levels have on their property value, Dr. Rainwater explains.