Drought Helps a Texas Rancher Turn the Corner to More Water and Forage

In the drought of 2009, Kregg and Diana McKenny's well ran dry. They had to haul water, and ultimately sell all their livestock except for 2 retired horses. The well that had served his family's ranch since the 1940s, and that got them through drought in the 1950s, just couldn't keep up any longer. Even the new, deeper well they drilled in 2011 couldn't provide all the water the operation needed. It was then that Kregg went to his local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office to find out what kind of alternatives were available. NRCS Rangeland Management Specialist Derrick Fuchs suggested a multi-prong approach as part of a Conservation Plan: “Our initial plan was to reduce his mesquite canopy through brush management, along with installing a rain water catchment utilizing the surface area of his barn, and adding storage to increase his water source capabilities,” explains Fuchs. “The NRCS has a diverse staff and we were able to use an NRCS agriculture engineer to design the gutters and storage facilities. The 3,500-gallon storage tank ended up being filled in three rainfall events and hasn’t gone dry since.” Now the McKennys have three water sources for their livestock: two wells and the rainwater they collect. And they're working to use the precipitation that hits the ground to grow

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