Living Off the Water: The Challenge to Tame and Sustain Life in the Solomon Valley
Shared human experiences with water along the Solomon River from Glasco to Hoxie, Kansas.
In one small section of northwestern Kansas, farmers now have agreed to do something unprecedented: For the next five years, all the farmers in this area, covering 99 square miles, will pump 20 percent less water out of the ground.
It’s a remarkable agreement, but it’s also fragile. Whether it survives will depend in large part on whether other farmers follow their lead.
Hoxie, the small town where farmers have taken this bold step, is the kind of place where people keep track of how many children go to the town’s school. It’s a barometer of the town’s health. “When I was in high school, we had 36 to 42 in every class,” says farmer Mitchell Baalman. “Now, these classes are down to 15. Ten to 15 in each class.”