Local water conservation district nominated for Texas Environmental Excellence Award

Local water conservation district nominated for Texas Environmental Excellence Award
North Plains Groundwater Conservation District (Source: KFDA)

DUMAS, TX (KFDA) - With a lack of rain in the Panhandle, water is a hot commodity.

As farmers prepare to plant crops, the importance of needing water and conserving it doesn't go unnoticed.

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"We're basically just selling water. We package it as corn or cotton, and we just have to treat it like a feed stock," said local farmer Justin Garrett.

Garrett is a local farmer who went through the Master Irrigator Program through the North Plains Groundwater Conservation District in Dumas. He says the program helped bring together his daily work with conservation tactics.

"We learned about some of the tools we weren't aware of. Some of it was kind of a 'don't forget about these items. Start thinking more about your water usage,'" said Garrett.

For the North Plains District, they decided to start the program as a way to go beyond just talking about water conservation and irrigation and actually making the practices happen.

"It was time to go beyond that and see widespread adoption of these practices throughout the district if we were ultimately going to conserve water," said Kirk Welch, the Assistant General Manager of Outreach with the North Plains Groundwater Conservation District.

In an innovative approach to conservation, the classes teach how to manage irrigation with low-energy precision, use conservation tillage practices to manage crop residue, adjust nutrient application with reduced irrigation and more.

The energy and water-saving tactics led to their nomination for one of the most prestigious environmental conservation award in the state, the Texas Environmental Excellence Award.

"That understanding of what you're doing and the importance of what you're doing for the state, certainly it's really positive and it encourages us to keep moving in that direction," said Welch.

In a tight nomination field, this district is taking their innovative work with farmers, and making every drop last.

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