Local greenhouse owner looks for alternative water source

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Updated: 7/31/2012 4:31 am
We told you about the Water District's report that states in no uncertain terms that the amount of water from the Ogallala Aquifer being used for agricultural purposes is in fact unsustainable. While some producers have told us they are better at conserving their water than the government, not everyone agrees.

"The well went down, and by down I mean dry for us. We have no water, not for the house, not for anything," Business owner Nancy Hubbard said.

Trying to live comfortably and keep a greenhouse business afloat with a well that went dry a month ago is no small task, and Hubbard, who owns High Plains Gardens, said she is afraid there is no end in sight.

"With the level of watering that is going on now by local farmers immediately around us, it doesn't look like we will have any for the rest of the summer," Hubbard said.

It is not her first time through the ringer. Hubbard had to haul water to her property for four months last year, and while she has been able to store some this year, Hubbard's business partner Nick Parker said their problems are far from over.

"That 15,000 gallons has been the reserve that she has used to maintain things to have levelly been maintained at this point," Parker said.  "And she has about, maybe one or two weeks of water left before we have to start hauling water from off site again, to just try to stay alive."

Parker said they have had to make some changes in their business to adapt.

"With the gardens that you see out here, the raised bed gardens, they are all equipped with drip irrigation, so it is a very small amount of water we are applying just to the base of the plant at the root," Parker said.
 
Hubbard stressed that she understands the importance of agriculture, but said farmers needs have overshadowed the needs of others.

"With everything set up on drip lines and water conservation measures that we have put into place, our use of water won't affect them being able to access water from their wells, but the reverse is definitely not true," Hubbard said.

So Parker and Hubbard have enlisted the help of a non-profit organization in search for some assistance.

"We are trying to put together businesses that the waste product of one becomes the input of the next, and recycle and use as much water over and over again to extract value from it," Parker said, "and so we are working with the people at SEED Park International, but we are trying to find ways to fund this."

Parker said they have tried all the avenues looking for support, USDA, Texas Department of Agriculture, and High Plains Underground Water District, and were unsuccessful.
Their next plan of action is private funding.
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joeycad - 7/31/2012 5:07 PM
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On her website she's promoting 2 plants, Lily pads and bamboo. Has she just recently changed her crop of choice?? filled lillypad tanks with dirt???. Any way everyone has less water and can either drill or pray..or walk away. Landowners rights can not or at least should not be changed overnite, I'm sure there are some long term loans out on the value of THEIR water.
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