By JOHN HANNA Associated Press

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas water experts are warning that farmers and ranchers in the state's western half must stop pumping more water out of a vast aquifer than nature puts back each year or risk an economic collapse there.

The warning is setting up a big and messy fight for the annual session of the Kansas Legislature.

The Kansas Water Authority is telling lawmakers that Kansas needs to “halt” the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer that covers roughly 175,000 square miles in parts of eight states including Wyoming.

The warning has farmers, ranchers and powerful agriculture interests preparing to fight moves that they see as stripping them of control over water and potentially hurting their livelihoods.

Ropes & Roses Open House, Therapy Services with Horses

LIFT Wyoming Educates, Inspires, and Empowers Wyoming Teenagers

LIFT Wyoming was designed to "promote leadership in our young people for Wyoming's future," and it aims to to create a new generation of Wyomingites that can lead the state in new and exciting ways. 

More From Wake Up Wyoming