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Facts
Usage of Water
Consumers
Threats and Hazards
Cimarron National Grasslands
Water Quality
Water Quantity
Additional Links

                    

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Call 911 to report Hazards, Toxic Spills or Threats to Basin
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FACTS

Size: The Cimarron Basin covers nearly 6,800 square miles of the southwest corner of Kansas. The basin includes all or parts of 14 counties The climate of the basin is characterized by moderate to low precipitation, relatively high wind velocities, fairly rapid rates of evaporation, a wide range of temperatures and abrupt, sometimes violent changes in weather.

Population: There were an estimated 54,300 residents in this basin in the year 2000, and the population is projected to grow to 68,500 by the year 2040.  

Flow: The major river in the basin is the Cimarron.   Principal tributaries of the Cimarron River in Kansas are the North Fork Cimarron, Crooked Creek, Bluff Creek and on occasions of high runoff, Bear Creek.

For real-time information on water levels in the river basin click on the following website: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ks/nwis/rt

Reservoirs: There are no major reservoirs in the basin.  

Topography and Soil: The topography in the basin varies from flat, undulating plains of slight relief to rolling uplands and, in places, steep bluffs and hills. The Cimarron National Grassland lies in the very southwestern tip of Kansas. This is pretty far off the beaten path, and there aren't too many choices of roads to get you here, which is one of its charms. The Cimarron National Grassland is located within the basin and covers an area of about 100,000 acres: http://www.naturalkansas.org/cimarron.htm

Economy: The economy of the basin is very dependent on agriculture.  Crops grown include wheat, corn, grain sorghum, soybeans, forage sorghum and alfalfa. Livestock production is an important component.  Beef cattle are the predominant livestock produced in the basin.  Large cattle feeding operations are common.  Beef processing is also a major economic factor in the basin.

Gas and oil production is widespread and very important to the basin’s economy.  The first gas wells were drilled in the Hugoton field in the early 1920’s, which remains a major national gas producing area.  Other minerals are of minor importance to the basin.

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Usage of Water

Surface water provides 0 % of supply for all reported uses in 1997.

Groundwater Virtually 100% of the water use in the basin is from ground water.  Irrigation is widespread and extremely important to the area economy.  Groundwater Management District No. 3 is the major water management entity in the basin. To find the locations of these subsurface water bearing units, and the organizations that manage groundwater districts, click on the following website: http://www.ksda.gov/Default.aspx?tabid=180&mid=2311&ctl=Download&method=attachment&EntryId=217

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CONSUMERS

Agriculture Ninety-seven percent of the water used in the basin is for irrigation.  Just under 90 percent of the basin is cropland of which about 20 percent is irrigated. 

Industry and Municipal accounted for about 3 percent of water used in the basin

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THREATS AND HAZARDS

In April 2001, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the Cimarron River in Clark, Comanche, Meade and Seward counties, from U.S. Highway 54 bridge downstream to the Kansas-Oklahoma border, as critical habitat for the Arkansas River Shiner. http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/psicc/cim/

Ground Water (subsurface)

High Plains Aquifer: For specific information about  groundwater quality contact:

Stafford Groundwater Management District at:

Big Bend Groundwater Management District #5
125 South, Main St
Stafford, KS 67578
Phone: (620) 234-5352
Fax: (620) 234-5718

http://www.gmd5.org/

The following websites contain general information about the High Plains Aquifer and threats to groundwater quality from salt contamination and total dissolved solids (TDS):

 

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Cimarron National Grasslands
(Meade State Park)

Meade State Park

13051 V Road
Meade, KS 67864

Park Office (620) 873-2572
Regional Office (785)628-8614

 

Meade State Park was originally carved out of the Turkey Track Ranch in 1927. Meade State park rests in the High Plains of southwest Kansas, just west of the Red Hills, 8 miles south and 5 miles west of Meade on Highway 23. The state park and wildlife area comprise 803 acres of land and water.

The park features overnight camping, with or without electrical and water hook-ups. The lake is surrounded by many trees that provide shade for camping and picnicking. In the 80 acre lake, bluegill, channel cat, crappie and large mouth bass are plentiful and provide excellent opportunities for the angler. A boat dock is available for the unloading of boats. No skiing or pleasure boating is allowed, and all boats must be operated at no-wake speeds. A swimming beach area has been marked off. For nature lovers who like to identify various different trees, grasses, flowers and birds, a nature trail has been marked at the northwest corner of the lake. Meade State Park is happy to have group gatherings at the park. Information can be obtained at the park office.

Meade State Park contains an ‘artesian’ well that draws from the High Plains Aquifer.  A lower- in –the- section aquifer is in the Dakota Formation.  Water quality from the Dakota Formation is less desirable than from the High Plains Aquifer.  On a recent visit to Meade Lake (2005) the swimming area was closed due to high algal content.

 

Information about the Cimarron National Grasslands (Meade State Park) can be found at the following sites:

  Bird watchers may also enjoy the grasslands: http://www.ksbirds.org/checklist/checklist_index.htm

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WATER QUALITY

Each Public Water System should provide a Consumer Confidence Report of water quality to the KDHE and the EPA:

Information about Kansas public water supplies can be found at:

To find out what is in your local drinking water follow the websites below:
Drill down’ from the top using EPA websites that follow:

Rivers and Impairment:

Now what about that river? As it turns out, the Cimarron River (although appearing on most maps) usually flows underground only, several feet below the surface. You get the lush growth of cottonwoods along its banks, and yet there's no water to be seen!

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WATER QUANTITY

Groundwater:

 For current information about groundwater levels and water rights, see the following sites:

Surface Water:

Flood and Drought Information:

Streams:  for real time water levels on the Lower Arkansas River click on the following website:  http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ks/nwis/rt

Drought Assessment: http://www.kwo.org/reports%20&%20publications/drought/kwo%20drought%20report.htm  Kansas Water Office reports on drought

          http://koufax.kgs.ku.edu/kars/kars_map.cfm--weekly interactive maps showing vegetation conditions across the State of Kansas. The maps are derived from NOAA satellite data that measures how green vegetation is. Vegetation stress is a proxy measure of drought

Flood Information: contact the National Weather Service http://www.nws.noaa.gov/

Reservoir Information: No Reservoir

 

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ADDITIONAL LINKS

Related Links for Additional Information

Midwest Assistance Program (MAP) The Midwest Assistance Program is dedicated to helping rural communities improve their environment, quality of life and be self-sustaining.

American Water Works Association (AWWA)-The American Water Works Association (AWWA) is an international nonprofit scientific and educational society dedicated to the improvement of drinking water quality and supply.

Kansas Rural Water Association-The Kansas Rural Water Association provides leadership and educational opportunities to help its more than 650 municipal and rural water district members and other professionals wisely manage water and wastewater resources.

Kansas Water Office-Lead office for the Governor's Water Quality Initiative.

a.      Drought Report

U.S. EPA Laboratories with Approval Pending-Laboratories with approval pending for the analysis of Cryptosporidium under the LT2 Rule, Safe Drinking Water Act

U.S. EPA Office of Water

U.S. EPA Ground Water & Drinking Water

U.S. EPA Region 7 Home Page (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska)

U.S. EPA National Home Page

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© Copyright 2006 Wichita State University.

Wichita State University
Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Department of Geology
1845 N. Fairmount Box 34
Wichita , KS 67260
(316) 978-7245
cehh@wichita.edu