"Tackling Tough Questions" is the theme for the 2020 Ogallala Aquifer Summit set for March 31-April 1 in Amarillo.
The summit begins at 11 a.m., March 31 and ends at 2:30 p.m, April 1.
Water management leaders from Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming are expected to attend.
Workshops and speakers will share and compare responses to questions, such as "What is the value of groundwater to current and future generations?" and "How do locally-led actions aimed at addressing water challenges have larger-scale impact?"
"The summit provides a unique opportunity to strengthen collaborations among a diverse range of water-focused stakeholders,” said Summit Co-Chair Meagan Schipanski.
She is an associate professor in the Colorado State University Department of Soil and Crop Sciences.
“Exploring where we have common vision and identifying innovative concepts or practices already being implemented can catalyze additional actions with potential to benefit the aquifer and Ogallala region communities over the short and long term,” she said.
Schipanski co-directs the Ogallala Water Coordinated Agriculture Project (CAP).
The Ogallala Water CAP, supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, has a multi-disciplinary team of 70 people based at 10 institutions in six Ogallala region states.
They are all engaged in collaborative research and outreach for sustaining agriculture and ecosystems in the region.
Some Ogallala Water CAP research and outreach results will be shared at the 2020 Ogallala Summit.
The conference will highlight several activities and outcomes inspired by or expanded as a result of the 2018 Ogallala Summit.
Participants will include producers; irrigation company and commodity group representatives; students and academics; local and state policy makers; groundwater management district leaders; crop consultants; agricultural lenders; state and federal agency staff; and new and returning summit participants.
“Water conservation technologies are helpful, and we need more of them, but human decision-making is the real key to conserving the Ogallala,” said Brent Auvermann, center director at Texas A&M AgriLife Research – Amarillo. “The emergence of voluntary associations among agricultural water users to reduce groundwater use is an encouraging step, and we need to learn from those associations’ experiences with regard to what works, and what doesn’t, and what possibilities exist that don’t require expanding the regulatory state," he said.
A March 31 evening social will feature screening of a portion of the film, "Rising Water," by Nebraska filmmaker Becky McMillen.
Visit ogallalawater.org/2020-ogallala-aquifer-summit for a detailed agenda, lodging information, and online registration.