Groundwater levels have declined across Texas over the past eight decades, and the primary reasons were the onset of irrigation in agriculture and population growth. But a recent Texas A&M AgriLife Research study has identified other factors having an impact.

Groundwater declines have been most severe in the past four decades, but the news isn’t all bad, according to Dr. Srinivasulu Ale, AgriLife Research geospatial hydrology assistant professor in Vernon.

“Long-term (1930–2010) trends in groundwater levels in Texas: Influences of soils, land cover and water use,” authored by Dr. Sriroop Chaudhuri, former post-doctoral research associate at Vernon, and Ale, was published recently in the Science of the Total Environment journal.

For the latest on southwest agriculture, please check out Southwest Farm Press Daily and receive the latest news right to your inbox.

Ale said they conducted the study because by 2060 the state’s population is expected to double, increasing the demand for water at a time when the existing water supply is expected to be reduced by about 10 percent.

“We wanted to know which areas are more vulnerable to water shortages,” he said. “In order to plan and implement strategies to deal with the water level declines, we needed to know how these levels were declining spatially and temporally.” Read more.