Ogallala Water CAP Project

Image of oglala project logo

The Ogallala Aquifer, one of the largest freshwater aquifers in the world, supports 30% of U.S. crop and animal production, increases agricultural production by more than $12 billion annually, and impacts global food supplies. However, much of the Ogallala is rapidly declining, agricultural systems are not sustainable, and climate change will only compound this challenge. These challenges are very real in eastern New Mexico and have become the basis for much of the research that NMSU conducts at the Clovis Agricultural Science Center.

In 2015, a team of over 40 university researchers, Extension specialists, and industry and farmer stakeholders were assembled from 6 states, 9 institutions, and 6 hub agricultural experiment stations to begin an organized, regional research and outreach effort for helping solve the issues of water decline and long-term agricultural sustainability in the High Plains. The USDA-NIFA funded project will run through 2020, and has 4 main focus objectives:

  1. Integrate hydrologic crop, soil, and climate models and databases
  2. Develop and identify innovative practices for improved water use efficiency
  3. Identify incentives and policies to increase the adoption of adaptive strategies
  4. Enable the adoption of tools and strategies for improved water use

Collaborators at the NMSU-Clovis site are Sangu Angadi, Rajan Ghimire, and Mark Marsalis.

The team's long-term goal is to "optimize use of groundwater in the Ogallala Aquifer Region (OAR) to sustain food production systems, rural communities and ecosystem services". Achieving this goal requires integrated management to improve use of the right water (both Ogallala irrigation and precipitation) at the right time in the right place across the OAR.

More information can be found at the Ogallala Water Website.