Beneath the U.S. High Plains, a substantial underground reservoir stretches from the Texas Panhandle to South Dakota, providing drinking water for more than 2 million people and supplying the irrigation for dozens of valued crops across eight states, which account for at least one-fifth of the nation’s total agricultural harvest.

But as population growth in the region slowly trends up — and the climate warms at a quicker-than-anticipated pace — uncertainty over the future of Texas’ water infrastructure has culminated among both state leaders and residents as the Ogallala Aquifer diminishes and inches its way toward insufficient supply.

Read more from Brandi D. Addison with the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal here.