Water, the treasure of Earth, covers two-thirds of the planet. Some is visible, but much lies beneath the surface, hidden waters traveling through sand, rock, and gravel. These hidden seas are created in part when rain and snow trickle downward. Sometimes rivers dive deep and enter holds of water beneath even parched ground. These stores of water are called aquifers. The Ogallala Aquifer is the largest on the continent, reaching from the plains of South Dakota to Texas. The aquifer is declining by an average of 1.74 feet a year—over one million acre-feet— so excessive is the demand for agricultural and domestic purposes. In places in this region the land is actually collapsing. Native American people of several tribal traditions have long said that prairie dogs “call the rain.” Like all Earth’s waters, aquifers rise and fall with the moon, and as it turns out, this slow, strong pumping in the aquifers beneath prairie dog towns is what draws rainwater into those aquifers, replenishing them. Where prairie dog holes have ceased to exist, due to land development that has destroyed their habitat and the slaughter of prairie dogs for sport, the soil has become so hard rain can no longer reach the aquifer. The rain in fact has disappeared

Linda Hogan