water

mcdarius, flickr Creative Commons

A task force seeking a way to fund Gov. Brownback’s 50-year water plan appears close to recommending that a small percentage of state sales tax revenue be earmarked for up to $55 million a year in conservation projects.

Rep. Tom Sloan is a Lawrence Republican and a member of the task force. He agrees with the goal but fears the state’s budget problems will make any plan that diverts revenue a tough sell.

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

When heavy rains wash through farm country, chemicals from agricultural fields spill into small tributaries and eventually make their way to the Gulf of Mexico. That’s created an environmental disaster. For Harvest Public Media’s special series “Watching Our Water,” Kristofor Husted reports on new research into combating the problem.

Farming in the fertile Midwest is tied to an environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. But scientists are studying new ways to lessen the Midwest’s environmental impact and improve water quality.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

Agriculture is often blamed for the pollution in Midwestern rivers and streams. But there are other culprits for our dirty waters. Today, in the fourth installation of our series “Watching Our Water,” Harvest Public Media’s Peggy Lowe looks at how cities respond to that pollution – and create some of it, too.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Excess fertilizer and pesticides have flowed from farm fields into our waterways for years. While federal regulations have successfully cut back some water pollution, they have little muscle in combating one of the Midwest’s biggest environmental problems.

On a gray day, just as the rain begins to fall, Roger Zylstra stops his red GMC Sierra pick-up truck on the side of the road and hops down into a ditch in Jasper County, Iowa. It takes two such stops before he unearths amid the tall weeds and grasses what he’s looking for.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Contaminated drinking water isn’t just a problem for Flint, Michigan. Many towns and cities across the Midwest and Great Plains face pollution seeping into their water supplies. A big part of the problem: farming and ranching.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

Kansas’ main water resource is depleting faster than it can be refilled—but we as consumers have a significant stake in conserving what’s there. That’s the takeaway of a new Exploration Place exhibit that looks at the High Plains aquifer, and our relationship to it. KMUW’s Nadya Faulx takes us along on a tour.

ExplorationPlace.org

A new exhibit that looks at Kansas' relationship to one of its most vital resources opens at Exploration Place tomorrow.

The Big Splash will show visitors the inner workings of an aquifer, as well as where our water comes from, and how it’s used.

Most of Kansas’ water resources are underground: It's one of 8 states that sits on top of the High Plains Aquifer. But that source is rapidly being depleted.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Few things are more valuable to a farmer in the arid West than irrigation water. Without it, the land turns back into its natural state: dry, dusty plains. If a fast-growing city is your neighbor, then your water holds even more value.

Farm families in Western states like California and Colorado are increasingly under pressure to sell their water. It’s been coined “buy and dry,” as water is diverted from farm fields and instead used to fill pipes in condos and subdivisions.

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

The economy of western Kansas is based on the Ogallala Aquifer. But that ancient underground water supply is being rapidly depleted. The Kansas Water Office is teaming up with forward-looking farmers in an effort to demonstrate that new irrigation technologies can reduce the demand on the aquifer without sacrificing crop yields.

From mid-May through the end of August, a sound is heard almost non-stop in farm fields all across western Kansas. It’s the sound of an irrigation pump pulling water from deep underground to nourish thirsty crops. Tom Willis owns several of these wells.

usgs.gov

The City of Wichita says storms experienced last weekend dropped more than seven inches of rain in many places. While flooding did occur, the city's water supplies are at comfortable levels.

City officials report that the Cheney Reservoir, which the city relies on for much of its water supply, is so full that it's spilling out into flood pools. It’s quite the contrast to a few years ago, when the city was considering water-use restrictions as the reservoir was nearly half empty.

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