Date of this Version
The High Plains aquifer underlies 111.6 mil¬lion acres (174,000 square miles) in parts of eight States—Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. The area overlying the High Plains aquifer is one of the primary agricultural regions in the Nation. Water-level declines began in parts of the High Plains aquifer soon after the beginning of substantial irrigation with ground water in the aquifer area. By 1980, water levels in the High Plains aquifer in parts of Texas, Oklahoma, and southwestern Kansas had declined more than 100 feet (Luckey and others, 1981). In response to these water-level declines, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in collaboration with numerous Federal, State, and local water-resources agencies, began monitoring more than 7,000 wells in 1988 to assess annual water-level changes in the aquifer. This fact sheet summarizes changes in water levels and drainable water in storage in the High Plains aquifer from predevelopment (before about 1950) to 2007 and serves as a companion product to a USGS report that presents more detailed and technical information about water-level and storage changes in the High Plains aquifer during this period (McGuire, 2009).