The Southern Ogallala Aquifer Rainfall (SOAR) Program – A New Precipitation Enhancement Program in West Texas and Southeastern New Mexico
AbstractThe Sandy Land Underground Water Conservation District, South Plains Underground Water Conservation District, and the Llano Estacado Underground Water Conservation District have participated with the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District #1 for a number of years in their precipitation enhancement program. Convinced from past assessments that precipitation enhancement is a potential water management tool, the three boards decided that a program beginning in 2002, apart from the High Plains would be beneficial. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) issued a permit on January 31, 2002 authorizing a weather modification program to conduct rainfall enhancement in Yoakum, Terry and Gaines County. Additionally, with the cooperation of the State of New Mexico, an area west of Gaines and Yoakum Counties is included in the target area. This precipitation enhancement program was named Southern Ogallala Aquifer Rainfall (SOAR) program. This document presents a brief summary of the SOAR 2003 annual report detailing an effort to systematically characterize the clouds, precipitation and the seeding effectiveness of the SOAR program. Independent evaluations show average rainfall increases of 68% and 52% in favor of a seeded cloud when compared to a matching control cloud. This results in an average estimated benefit/cost ratio of 235/1.
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