Bill for hydrogeological mapping of U.S. High Plains Aquifer gains initial approval


  • Randy Showstack


Bipartisan legislation to characterize, map, and model the 450,000-sq-km High Plains Aquifer passed the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on 12 March, but not without amendments that some scientists said weaken important aspects of the bill.

The bill (S. 212), which now awaits full Senate approval, and the introduction of companion legislation in the House of Representatives, calls for a High Plains Aquifer comprehensive hydrogeologic program, which would be a cooperative partnership effort between the U.S. Geological Survey and state and local agencies. Among the goals are gaining a comprehensive understanding of the subsurface configuration and hydrogeology of the aquifer, including a better understanding of how the aquifer functions, recharges, and loses water.