First Experiences
June 29, 2014

There are four components to my internship with Ogallala Commons

(1) Research: I work to find definitive resources I can that give any connective information about the Ogallala Aquifer. I look for any kind of educational or informative resources about the Aquifer. As well as charts, graphs, and tables to easily explain the information I research about the aquifer. Pictures too that shows the history of the aquifer, from when we first started mining for water to now.

(2) Collaborative Network: I look for people, organizations private or non-profit, groups, cities, government organizations, universities ext. that have information about the Ogallala Aquifer. I then keep a record of these networks and will contact them to receive information, give what I have found, and form a continual working relationship.

(3)Research Water Plans: I compile a list of cities, town, regions, and or districts that have water plans in place. Once found, I contact them and interview them about what exactly are their water plans for the future.

(4) Compile a list of DIY Resources: finding budget friendly solutions for individuals and communities to create to help with water conservation of the aquifer for examples, rainwater harvesting.

I do most of my work from home, or in the Southwest Collections Library at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. The Southwest Collections Library has great resources, but you cannot check out their books and resources, so I read the information there and compile the information that I need. The reason why I tell you this is because I do not really have any interactions with people while doing my job for my internship.

My noteworthy experiences are all interesting information that I have found while researching about the Ogallala Aquifer.

#1. I found an extremely informative website about the Aquifer created by MIT ( Table 1 shows the change of water storage in every state connected to the Ogallala aquifer from pre-developed to 2000 (in million acres feet). Colorado -11; Kansas -47; Nebraska +4; New Mexico -8; Oklahoma -11; South Dakota 0; Texas -124; Wyoming 0; All Eight States -197. Congratulation Nebraska for being the only state that has successful recharged their portion of the aquifer. Unfortunately it looks like I have my work cut out for me when it comes to getting Texas to that point.

#2. This interesting water fact is from The Environmental Policy Paradox by Zachary A. Smith, if you have any interest in environmental policy, this book is excellent. I give you just some unconnected water facts about the United States that are frightening. (A) 38% of all water used in the United States is used for electrical cooling, (B) U.S. Industrial and agricultural sectors account for 87% of freshwater consumption – most is used for producing meat. (C) The typical person from North America consumes 170 gallons of water daily, more than seven times the per capita average in the rest of the world. (D) For good health and cleanliness a total daily supple of between 5 and 12 gallons of water per person is needed. (E) It is estimated that between 30 and 50% of the water used in the U.S. is unnecessarily wasted.

What I have learned so far is really depressing, but it just shows me what needs to be done to help change the world the way I want to see it. If you are interested in hearing any more information that I have found, or have any question for me, just shoot me a comment or email me at [email protected]

Until next time, more information about the Ogallala Aquifer coming soon.

— The Modern Day Misunderstood Hippie

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Image (1): From the MIT website I gave above, showing the saturation thickness of the Ogallala aquifer in 2000.

Image (2) H. Jones Farm nine miles west of Hastings, Nebraska, pumping 1,200 gallons of water from the aquifer a minute.