You Never Miss The Water Until The Well Goes Dry

Reprinted from The Cross Section, Volume 1, No. 2 — July 1954

One of the objectives of the HPUWCD is to continuously call to the attention of the people of this area the fact that the water in the High Plains is a depletable resource. Water has, on occasion, been referred to as a mineral, and like any other mineral, if it is continuously mined, can be exhausted.

The annual reports of the State Board of Water Engineers and the U.S. Geological Survey show that in the southern High Plains we have been taking out water at an unusually high rate in the past few years. We are going to present this factual information as it becomes available to impress upon the minds of the agricultural industrial and municipal water users the necessity of conservative, wise use of water before the well goes completely dry,

Since the principal economy of the Southern High Plains is agricultural, we have coined a phrase that should become foremost on the tongue of every farmer, banker, pump dealer, and well driller in the High Plains — “Conservation Irrigation.”

Conservation Irrigation to us means the use of our irrigation water as an insurance, not as a means of getting rich quickly at the expense of our water and our posterity.

Conservation Irrigation should mean the prolongment of our present economy as long as possible, eliminating to a bare minimum the mining of our valuable resource for the benefit of the few who are using it today.

Certainly, water in storage is like fruit in a jar. It is no good unless put to beneficial use. But few people have consumed a jar of fruit at one sitting, for in so doing, they not only suffer the physical consequences, but tomorrow, they have no fruit for their next meal.

We cannot say that harvesting the fruits of a bountiful harvest produced by indiscriminate pumping would hurt us, but what of the harvest of tomorrow?

As Benjamin Franklin so aptly said, “You never miss the water until the well goes dry.”