Livestock could see a shift away from the high plains as it chases an abundant water supply.

A hydrologist from the University of California, Irvine says a declining Ogallala Aquifer could eventually mean a migration.

Jay Famiglietti said of the world’s 37 main aquifers, 20 are being depleted at unsustainable rates, including the Ogallala. The aquifer covers eight states: South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.

According to our partners at Drovers, the aquifer supplies 30 percent of the water used in U.S. agriculture. 

“When you look at Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and the Ogallala, they are producing a lot of grains, a lot of corn just using water from that region,” said Famiglietti. “We may be needing some help from other states, but we use more than we have available.”

Satellites are used to develop compute models to track how freshwater availability is changing all over the world.

According to Famigletti, a lot of water use is unregulated. The country needs to come up with a strategy for sustainable global food production. 

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