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      Agricultural use soaks up most of region??s water

      Agriculture consumes the majority of the region??s water placing a larger strain on the area??s depleting water supply.

      ??95% of the water in this region is used by agriculture,??said City Commissioner Brian Eades. ??The city of Amarillo has a lot of water to last for city use for a long time, but the agricultural use is the ones that are going to suffer.??

      With the constant need of water to irrigate crops, producers know that the water supply is very limited and they don??t allow any of it to go to waste.

      ??It??s expensive if you??re wasting water and not using it wisely,?? said local producer, Harold Artho. ??With the economy right now, nobody can afford to waste money.??

      Despite the misconception of producers being some of the largest water wasters in the area, many say that is the furthest from the truth.

      ??Our agricultural producers are the most conservative in terms of their water use of anyone out there,?? said J.D. Ragland, County Extension Agent at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

      Many producers have found different techniques to ensure they are conserving as much as they can.

      ??When I first started farming, I wouldn??t water with an open ditch. Then I went to pipe, and now I??m into the sprinklers because the sprinklers are much more efficient on water usage,?? said Artho.

      Although many producers are doing their part in trying to conserve as much water as they can, the demands of water for their products are larger than ever, especially in the current drought conditions.

      ??We??ve had a lot of producers in Randall County that have really struggled to get their crops growing this year,?? said Ragland.

      Artho has been a producer for over 30 years and conditions have never been as bad as it has been the past two years.

      ??You can work sun up to sun down and you still may not have a paycheck at the end of the year,?? said Artho.

      The reality of how crucial water supply is for farmers isn??t just an alarming truth for producers, but should be for everyone in the area.

      ??As the agriculture economy sputters and agriculture production declines, it??s not going to be the fact that we??re running out of water, it??s going to be the very devastating effect it could possibly have on our economy in the future,?? said City Commissioner Brian Eades.

      ??If farmers are hurting, that means 90% of people everywhere are hurting because of the fact that we can??t make a living,?? said Artho.

      While producers use the bulk of water in the region, every drop counts when it comes to conserving water. Getting everyone to have a conservative mind when it comes to saving water can help ensure water in our area for years to come.

      ??As agriculture producers and as homeowners, we need to encourage everyone to join forces and put in the practice those management practices that help us all become water conservers,?? said Ragland.

      ??That??s what folks need to think about we all need to encourage each other, in the rural communities, in agriculture, and in the cities to conserve. It??s our future. Future of our family and kids,?? said Eades.

      For more information on Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, visit agrilifeextension.tamu.edu