Groundwater Interests Panel - Producers, Ronald Gertson

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Groundwater Interests Panel - Producers, Ronald Gertson

  1. 1. Synopsis of Groundwater and Agriculture on the Texas Gulf Coast Presented by Ronald Gertson Regional Water Planner;Coastal Bend GCD President;Rice producer and rural water advocate
  2. 2. Surface Water for Ag Increasingly Unreliable LCRA cut off water to rice producers in three coastal counties for the first time ever reducing total rice acreage in Texas by 30% for 2011 Other surface water providers had similar plans, but received rainfall sufficient to supply irrigation water LCRA’s Water Management Plan decreases irrigation water availability as municipal and industrial demands increase
  3. 3. Surface Water Unreliability =Growth in Groundwater Demand252015 2010 16 4 5 4 0 5 0 4 4 3 3 3 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 New Wells (Commercial, Industrial, Municipal New Wells (Agricultural Irrigation
  4. 4. Coastal Bend GCD FactsMAG = 178,000 ac-ftac-7-yr average annual reported use = 142,367 ac-ft ac-Increase in permitted volume since last annualuse reports tallied = 28,104 ac-ft ac-The increase in groundwater permitted volumeresulting largely from decreased surface waterreliability puts Coastal Bend at risk of exceedingits MAG soon unless restrictions are imposed.
  5. 5. Additional Forces at Play.Agriculture is by far the largest water user in theareaRecord high farm commodity prices are makingirrigation affordable for crops previously notirrigated on the gulf coastWater demands highest when weather driest –have seen 125% higher water use in dry yearsthan in wet years
  6. 6. Water Planning and AgricultureWater demand is expected to be higher thansupply from now onState Water Plan projecting ag demand todecrease by 17% by 2060 due mainly todecreasing groundwater availability in theOgallala and Gulf Coast AquifersIrrigation drops from using 60% of availablewater in 2010 to 45% in 2060
  7. 7. Critical Food Supply SituationThe UN predicts that the world food supplymust increase by 70% by 2050 to feed theworld’s populationMany of the world’s main food productionregions rely heavily on aquifers that are notbeing sustainably managed and therefore will beunable to sustain current food production
  8. 8. The Bottom LineTexas agriculture must produce more food andfiber with less waterThis will require: Innovations yet unseen Creative and unique partnerships Active participation by all – producers and consumers Shifts in diets yielding sustainable shifts in production or vice versa

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