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Facts
Usage of Water
Consumers
Water Management

 Threats and Hazards
Water Quality
Water Quantity
 

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

Size: The Marais des Cygnes basin covers 4,304 square miles in east central and southeast Kansas (see Figure 1).  It is known as the Lake District.

Population: There were an estimated 125,000 residents in the basin in the year 2000, and the population is projected to grow to nearly 178,000 by the year 2040.

Flow:  The Marais des Cygnes River Basin rises near Eskridge in Wabaunsee County, Kansas and flows east and south to join the Little Osage in Bates County, Missouri.  Below this junction the stream becomes the Osage River, which continues eastward through Truman Lake and Lake of the Ozarks to its juncture with the Missouri River a short distance below Jefferson City.  Major tributary streams include Pottawatomie Creek and the Marmaton River.  

Information on water levels in the river basin click on the following website: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ks/nwis/rt

Reservoirs: The Corps of Engineers operates three large reservoirs in the Marais des Cygnes Basin.  These are Pomona Lake, Melvern Lake and Hillsdale Lake.

To locate these reservoirs see the following website:

http://www.kgs.ku.edu/Hydro/lake_maps.html

Topography and Soil: Surface elevations in the Marais des Cygnes Basin range from about 742 feet to 1,475 feet.  The climate of the Marais des Cygnes Basin is humid, with average annual total precipitation ranging between 35-40 inches.

Economy: The local economy is based primarily on general manufacturing.  The production of oil and gas is a relatively small but important component of the economy. 

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Usage of Water

 

The majority of water used in the basin is from surface sources.  Municipal and industrial supply is the predominant use of water. For information on water Appropriation see: http://www.drought.unl.edu/plan/handbook/nds8.pdf

Groundwater

Ground water is readily available throughout the Flint Hills region. Most wells produce 10 to 100 gpm, although the eastern crest of the Flint Hills is not so productive. Well yields of 100 to 500 gpm are common in portions of central Marion and western Butler counties (KGS Map M-4a). Principal aquifers in the Flint Hills are the Nolands, Winfield, and Barneston Limestones.   Springs emerge from these units in valleys and stream channels Crystal Spring, near Florence, is one of the largest single springs in the Flint Hills. This spring supplies water for the city of Florence; the spring house has a pumping capacity of 370 gpm, and excess water flows into a nearby stream (O'Conner and Chaffee 1983). The spring emerges near the base of the Barneston Limestone on the northern side of the Cottonwood River valley.

 

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CONSUMERS

Agriculture

Irrigation accounted for a small percent of all reported water pumped or diverted (1997). 

Industry

Most water withdrawals for municipal and industrial supply in the Marais des Cygnes Basin come from surface sources.

Municipal

Municipal and industrial supply is the predominant use of water. 

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Water Management

The State of Kansas has purchased water marketing or water assurance storage in each of the federal reservoirs in the basin.  Two reservoirs Hillsdale and Melvern contain state-owned water marketing storage.  Two multipurpose small lakes, Bone Creek and Xenia have been constructed in this basin.  Two additional lakes, Cedar Creek and Little Sugar Creek are under development.  Eight watershed districts and one drainage district have been organized in the Marais des Cygnes Basin, primarily for flood control.

Marais des Cygnes River Water Assurance District No. 2 was organized in 1990 and became operational in 1995 with the signing of a contract and operations agreement.  Seven municipal and industrial water right holders along the Marais des Cygnes River are members.  State-owned water assurance storage is located in Melvern and Pomona lakes

Conservation Districts are part of a nationwide grass roots organization made up of people that collectively promote the wise management of our natural resources for sustained use. There are 105 Conservation Districts across Kansas, one for each county in Kansas. Each district is lead by a board of five supervisors that are locally elected. These supervisors are not paid for their service on the board.

Each conservation district has developed programs aimed to address priority concerns for their county. If you own land in Kansas, it is best to contact the district in the county you own the land. This will insure you the best in assistance and knowledge of local conditions.  http://www.cjnetworks.com/~sccdistrict/dist_ks.htm

The Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for the operation of Melvern, Hillsdale and Pomona and lakes is an important water manager in the basin.  To contact the Army Corps of Engineers see the following: http://www.nwk.usace.army.mil/regulatory/boundary.htm

Topographic Maps of Kansas dams  http://www.topozone.com/states/Kansas.asp?feature=Dam

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Threats and Hazards
 

Quality

Ground Water (subsurface) 

Ground water of the Flint Hills region generally has high total dissolved solids and high total hardness concentrations. The ionic composition of well water is dominated by Ca2+ and HCO3-, as expected for weathering of limestone by precipitation containing CO2. Magnesium, sodium, chloride, and sulfate are also added by weathering. The relatively high concentrations of calcium and magnesium exceed the recommended limit for hardness in drinking water in most cases. Ground water from Smith Cave is sampled regularly as part of the Groundwater Quality Monitoring Network (site I.D. 00017602) of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Nitrate contamination of ground water is a serious problem throughout Kansas, believed to be the result of excessive fertilizer application rather than from natural weathering. The concentrations of nitrite plus nitrate vary from below the detection limit to above the drinking water standard within the Flint Hills. Dissolved iron and manganese exceed secondary drinking water standards at many sites. Although minerals containing these elements are abundant in the region, they become soluble only under reducing conditions. It is interesting to note that samples high in iron or manganese are usually low in nitrate; the same reducing conditions promote denitrification of nitrate to nitrogen gas or ammonia (Schroeder 1990).

 

Solutions now in effect to slow or prevent surface or ground- water pollution:

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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:

 

Surface Water Quality:

 

Reservoir Quality: Melvern and Hillsdale and Pomona Reservoirs

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WATER QUANTITY

 

Groundwater:

For current information about groundwater levels and water rights, see the WIMAS website: http://hercules.kgs.ku.edu/geohydro/wimas/index.cfm  OR

http://hercules.kgs.ku.edu/geohydro/wimas/query_setup.cfm

Surface Water

Streams:

Flood and Drought Information:

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

 USGS monthly water flow: real time    http://ks.water.usgs.gov/Kansas/history/kswater.hist.html

NOAA advance prediction service for MDC river http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=top&gage=qnmk1&view=1,1,1,1,1,1

Drought Assessment:

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

         

KGS--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.

http://koufax.kgs.ku.edu/kars/kars_map.cfm

         

Army Corps of Engineers drought management plan 1994: http://www.drought.unl.edu/plan/handbook/nds8.pdf

 

Flood Information:

NOAA Contact the National Weather Service: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/                             

 

Reservoir Quantity Information:  Redman, Council Grove and Marion Reservoirs:

USGS real time water data for reservoirs http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ks/nwis/current?type=lake&type=none&search_site_no_station_nm

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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