What to do when farm ponds dry up
What we are doing:
In mid-March, Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer issued a drought declaration for all 105 counties because of persistent dry conditions. All counties are in a watch status, while many of the southwest, central and south-central counties are in an emergency status.
The conditions have created a particular challenge for Kansas livestock producers, who are scrambling for alternatives to maintain water supplies for their herds. Farm ponds, a major source of water, are drying up. Some producers have access to rural water supplies to help bridge the gap caused by low water levels in ponds.
- K-State watershed specialist Herschel George has worked with producers to install solar pumps to get water where livestock can access it. He says the solar pumps are being used "more and more" in central and western Kansas. "These systems are available, and they're working well," he says.
- K-State specialists are working with producers so that they know how to properly install watering lines in the case where building a new pond or renovating an existing one is needed. A watering line from the pond should fall at least six feet from the full water level in the pond to the watering site.
"In eastern Kansas, our farm ponds are still relatively full, but as I talk to anyone in the Flint Hills, from Topeka and anywhere further west, it's just a disaster situation waiting to happen."
— Herschel George, K-State Research and Extension watershed specialist
For more information, "Waterers and Watering Systems: A Handbook for Livestock Producers and Landowners" has been a trusted, proven resource for years.