Background

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), the USDA-ARS Agro-ecosystem Management Research Unit (AMRU) in Lincoln, and the Environmental Management Research Unit (EMRU) in Clay Center established a Long-term Agro-ecosystem Research (LTAR) Network site with a focus on the northern portion of the High Plains Aquifer.

Over 95 percent of the water withdrawn from the aquifer is for agricultural use, and - unlike the portion of the aquifer underlying southern Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas where significant drawdown has occurred - ground water levels have remained relatively stable since 1960. However, this stability might be in jeopardy with projected climate variability and change for the region.

The PR-NPA LTAR was established to examine and make available data regarding the northern portion of the aquifer thereby filling a geographical and hydrological gap not currently addressed through the LTAR Network while complementing the Ogallala Aquifer Initiative, established by USDA in 2003 to address unsustainable groundwater use in the southern portion of the aquifer.