Introduction: film and the ogallala aquifer

20140707_121932 My name is Donna Raef, and I am from Amarillo, Texas. This summer Ogallala Commons has given me the opportunity to complete an internship over the next six months working with Dr. Merri Lisa Trigilio on an upcoming documentary, “Written on Water.” The documentary aims to chronicle the life of farmers and residents in the High Plains who are dealing with the reality of groundwater decline in the Ogallala Aquifer. My internship will involve collecting archival material for the film (newspaper articles, legislative decisions, history, policy decisions, etc.), and assisting with social media, public outreach and research for the film.

I am excited to be a part of this documentary both because of the topic and because of the format. Film is a powerful way to convey messages and ideas. I believe that a documentary focusing on groundwater decline in our area will highlight the fact that water is something that is extremely important for our arid area, but this asset is usually out of sight. Bringing this topic to light via film will be an exciting way to initiate a dialogue about water and food security. I hope that through my internship I will expand my understanding of groundwater issues in the High Plains. There are a multitude of factors that have an impact upon regulation, usage and conservation of water and understanding these factors allows us as users of the aquifer to better mange this valuable asset.


This summer I started a small garden whose existence depends on water I get from the Ogallala Aquifer every day. As I complete my internship, I also hope to be reminded that the Ogallala  Aquifer’s existence allows for not just a small garden but the livelihood of many here in the Panhandle and across the High Plains.

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