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Facts
Usage of Water
Consumers
Threats and Hazards
Equus Beds Aquifer
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: 11,500 square miles of south-central Kansas. Includes all or parts of 20 counties.

Population: Has the second largest population of all the twelve major river basins, with an estimated 641,000 residents in the year 2000. The population is projected to grow to nearly 813,000 in the year 2040.

Flow: The Arkansas River flows generally southeast across the basin. Major tributaries entering the river along its course are Rattlesnake Creek, Cow Creek, Little Arkansas River, Ninnescah River and Slate Creek. Other major streams in the basin that join the Arkansas River in Oklahoma are the Chikaskia River, Medicine Lodge River and Salt Fork. For real-time information on water levels in the river basin click on the following website: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ks/nwis/rt

Reservoirs: The major reservoir in the basin is Cheney Reservoir in Reno County M75. To locate Cheney Reservoir see the following website: http://www.kgs.ku.edu/Hydro/lake_maps.html

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. Sandy soils and sand dunes are prevalent, mostly in the river valleys, but fine textured soils, tight clays and many other soil types are also represented.

Economy: The general economy of the basin is diversified, with farming throughout the area and industrial activity most heavily concentrated in the Wichita-Newton-Hutchinson vicinity. Corn, wheat and livestock are the principal agricultural products. Many kinds of industries are represented in the basin, with the aircraft and oil and gas industries being of major importance. The salt mines of the state are located largely in this basin. There is a sizable gypsum production west of Medicine Lodge.

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Usage of Water

Surface water provides 8% of supply for all reported uses in 1997.
Groundwater is the source for 92 percent of supply for all reported uses in 1997. Groundwater sources for the Lower Arkansas Basin include the Ogallala (also called the High Plains Aquifer) and Equus Beds Aquifers. 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

Reservoir Information: Cheney Reservoir

 

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CONSUMERS

Agriculture: Irrigation accounted for about 71 percent of all reported water pumped or diverted (1997).
Industry: Industry accounted for over 9 percent; recreation and stock water combined about 1.5 percent (1997).
Municipal: Municipal use accounted for about 19 percent of water used in the basin.
The City of Wichita takes 60% of its water from the Lake Cheney reservoir and 40% from ground water of the Equus Beds. It adopted an Integrated Local Water Supply Plan in 1993 to meet the projected water needs of the City and surrounding communities through 2050. A key component of the plan is a recharge, storage and recovery project involving the use of water from the Little Arkansas River to recharge the Equus Beds Aquifer. For more information on the Equus Bed Artificial Recharge Project see websites in subsurface Quality section that follows.

The use of Cheney Reservoir is also a part of the Wichita water plan. Information on Cheney water usage can be found in the following site: http://www.usbr.gov/dataweb/html/wichita.html

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THREATS AND HAZARDS

Quality 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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EQUUS BEDS ACQUIFER
(perched above High Plains Aquifer in subsurface)

Equus Beds Groundwater Management District No. 2
313 Spruce Street
Halstead, KS 67056
phone: (316) 835-2224
fax: (316) 835-2225
http://www.gmd2.org/

The following websites and summaries provide information on the artificial recharge project in the Equus Beds. Water quality is an issue with artificial recharge (i.e, flood water from the Arkansas is pumped or seeped into ground water system).

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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:

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WATER QUANTITY

Groundwater:
For current information about groundwater levels and water rights, see
WIMAS website: http://hercules.kgs.ku.edu/geohydro/wimas/index.cfm
KGS - water level decline in high plains aquifer http://www.kgs.ku.edu/HighPlains/2000-29B/Decdir.htm
KGS -supply and demand needs on high plains aquifer http://www.kgs.ku.edu/HighPlains/2000-29C/needdir.htm

Surface Water:
Streams:

Flood and Drought Information: for real time water levels on the Lower Arkansas River: 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/

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ADDITIONAL LINKS

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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