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Organizing and Synthesizing Ogallala Aquifer Data to Facilitate Research and Resource Management

A South Central CASC FY19 Grants Competition Project


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The Ogallala Aquifer lies beneath 111 million acres of land in Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico. The aquifer provides water for approximately 1.9 million people and has been instrumental in the development of the robust agriculture economy of the Great Plains region. It is also vitally important to the ecology of the region, serving as a critical source of groundwater and sustaining creeks and streams that would otherwise run dry during periods of water scarcity. However, the various social, economic, and ecological challenges of managing this aquifer are expected to increase with climate change as hotter, drier summers exacerbate already unsustainable water demands. Regional water [...]

Child Items (3)


Principal Investigator :
Renee McPherson, Caitlin Rottler
Cooperator/Partner :
Paulette Ford, Amy Kremen
Funding Agency :
South Central CASC
CMS Group :
Climate Adaptation Science Centers (CASC) Program

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“East Mountains, New Mexico. Credit: Cary Vaughn”
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Project Extension

typeTechnical Summary
valueThe Ogallala Aquifer (OA) underlies about 170,000 square miles (111 million acres) of Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico, including about 1.9 million acres of tribal lands and 2.9 million acres of federal lands. Water from the aquifer is vital to regional aquatic, riparian, range, and agricultural ecosystems. Management of the OA presents challenges in various forms, as it is a common resource that crosses multiple state lines and is subject to an array of Federal, State, Tribal, and Municipal regulations. Aquifer depletion, especially in a region expected to become hotter and drier with climate change, presents a growing problem, threatening both natural and managed ecosystems. There has been little success in reducing the rate of depletion, in spite of a preponderance of data available to support research, resource management, and outreach. One way to begin approaching the complex issue of understanding and managing the OA at the regional scale is to address the problem of multiple large, disparate datasets that, as a result of being difficult to locate, are not easily combined and synthesized in a way that supports science-based decision-making and communication between and among stakeholders. The Ogallala Data Directory Project will work with stakeholders, receive guidance from an advisory team, and leverage the programmatic strengths of the DOI South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center (CASC) and USDA Southern Plains Climate Hub to identify datasets and make them easier to access with less labor-intensive searching. Project outputs will include metadata information that assists in cataloging geographic scope of coverage, time period, and data type. The directory will be hosted with the Ogallala Water Coordinated Agriculture Project (OWCAP) data portal that has been built through a collaboration with the Colorado State University Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory (CSU NREL). Outreach to bring awareness to the directory will be carried out with the assistance of the OWCAP as well as the South Central CASC and Climate Hub. It will also be publicized at national (e.g., American Geophysical Union, Soil Science Society of America) and regional conferences, via other project partner networks such as the DOI Playa Lakes Joint Venture, and through technical publications.

East Mountains, New Mexico. Credit: Cary Vaughn
East Mountains, New Mexico. Credit: Cary Vaughn


Spatial Services

ScienceBase WMS


  • National and Regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers
  • South Central CASC



Additional Information


Type Scheme Key
RegistrationUUID NCCWSC bfa61fe0-8595-487a-9a6b-b37c5602945c
StampID NCCWSC SC19-RC1597

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