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Facts
Usage of Water
Consumers
Water Management
Threats and Hazards
Water Quality
Water Quantity
Norton Lake

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

Size: The Upper Republican Basin covers approximately 4,900 square miles of northwestern Kansas.  The basin covers all or parts of Cheyenne, Rawlins, Decatur, Norton, Phillips, Sherman, Thomas and Sheridan counties.

Population: There were an estimated 28,480 residents in the basin in the year 2000, and the population is projected to reduce to 26,000 by the year 2040.

Flow: The major streams in the basin from west to east are the South Fork Republican River, Beaver Creek, Sappa Creek and Prairie Dog Creek.  The stream valleys are mostly broad and shallow, with low relief although locally the relief is as much as 200 feet.

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

Reservoirs: Keith Sebelius Lake is located on Prairie Dog Creek in the eastern part of the basin.  It is a federal lake built for flood control, municipal and industrial water supply, recreation and irrigation.  The lake is operated and maintained by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation http://www.kgs.ku.edu/Hydro/lake_maps.html

Topography and Soil: The climate of the basin is characterized by moderate to low precipitation, relatively high wind velocities, fairly rapid rates of evaporation, and a wide range of temperatures and abrupt, sometimes violent changes in weather.  Average annual precipitation amount varies from 17 inches in the west to 22 inches in the east.  The average annual runoff varies from about 0.2 inches in the west to 1.1 inches in the east.  The topography in the basin varies from flat, undulating plains of slight relief to rolling uplands and, in places, steep bluffs and hills.

Economy: The economy of the basin is very dependent on agriculture.  Crops grown include wheat, corn, grain sorghum, soybeans, forage sorghum, alfalfa and sunflower.  Irrigation is widespread and extremely important to the area economics.  Livestock production is an important part of the area’s agriculture.  Beef cattle are the predominant livestock raised in the basin.  Oil has been produced in the basin in commercial quantities since 1951, and oil fields of economic importance are present in Decatur, Norton, Phillips, Rawlins and Sherman counties.  Except for oil, industry and manufacturing are generally of minor importance to the economy of this area.

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Usage of Water

In this basin ground water is the main source of water for all purposes, accounting for just over 99 percent of reported usage in 1997.  Irrigation is the primary use of water, followed by much smaller amounts going to municipal, stockwater, recreational and industry in that order.

For more information on water use in the Upper Republican basin follow the USGS link on water use in Kansas 2004:

http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2004/3133/#N10048

http://ks.water.usgs.gov/Kansas/studies/wateruse/

 

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CONSUMERS

Agriculture

Irrigation accounted for 99 percent of all reported water usage (1997).

Industry

Industry accounted for < 1% percent.  

Municipal

Municipal accounted and recreational use accounted for <1% percent of water used in the basin.

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Water Management

All or parts of six counties in the basin are covered by Northwest Kansas Groundwater Management District No. 4.  This is an important water management force in the basin.

The Republican River Compact is another important water management force in the basin.  The Republican River Compact, established between Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska in 1943, apportioned the waters of the Republican River among the three states.  For more than ten years, Kansas has expressed concern to the compact administration about depletion of stream flow and Nebraska’s failure to comply with the compact.  After attempts to resolve the issue through the compact commission and direct meetings with the State of Nebraska, the 1998 Kansas Legislature passed House Concurrent Resolution #5030 requiring the Attorney General to bring suit against the State of Nebraska to enforce the provisions of the Republican River Compact.  Kansas initiated litigation through the United States Supreme Court in May, 1998.

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

Kansas Water Office Water Plan for Neosho Basin

http://www.kwo.org/Kansas%20Water%20Plan/republican Basin_Nov.pdf

USGS study of stream geomorphology and quality can be found at  http://ks.water.usgs.gov/Kansas/studies/fluvial/

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Threats and Hazards
 

Groundwater

Ground water is used predominantly for irrigation and livestock usage in the basin. http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2004/3133/#N1003A

Reservoirs

Bureau of Reclamation

Current Reservoir Data for Keith Sebelius Lake, KS as of 09/14/2006 http://www.usbr.gov/gp-bin/arcweb_ksks.pl

The Army Corps of Engineers, responsible for the operation of Toronto, Fall River, Elk City and Big Hill 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

KWO report on storage and marketing of water in eastern Kansas.  Includes Redman, Council Grove and Marion Lakes.  http://www.kwo.org/Reports%20&%20Publications/Rpt_2004_wmktg_annual_rpt_081505_he.pdf

Army Corps of Engineers operations in Kansas                                                   http://www.answers.com/topic/lakes-reservoirs-and-dams-in-kansas

Quality

Ground Water (subsurface) 

Ground water of the Flint Hills region generally has high total dissolved solids and high total hardness concentrations.

 

Reservoir Quality: Not good

 http://www.kdwp.state.ks.us/

  • EPA report on sedimentation in: http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/EPA-IMPACT/2002/June/Day-28/i16378.htm
  • USGS Impact of sedimentation on water reservoirs http://ks.water.usgs.gov/Kansas/pubs/abstracts/dpm.030502.html
  • U.S. Water News:  information about national water quality issues that include Kansas, 1996-2005 http://www.uswaternews.com/archives/arcquality/arcquality.html
  • KKdhe bureau of water remediation programs in river basin  http://www.kdheks.gov/tmdl/nevewaprior.htm
  • US Library of Congress- US Senate 2000 Water Appropriation Bill by state http://thomas.loc.gov/cgibin/cpquery/?&dbname=cp106&sid=cp106pOPWa&refer=&r_n=sr058.106&item=&sel=TOC_292421&

 

Solutions to Surface water pollution:

  • KSU:  Use of riparian boundaries to enhance water quality: http://www.k-state.edu/waterlink/Graphics/Reports/MF2489.pdf
  • KSU: riparian buffer maintence: http://www.kstate.edu/waterlink/Graphics/Reports/Riparian%20Buffer%20Maintenance.pdf
  • KSU bioretention:

http://www.k-state.edu/waterlink/Graphics/Reports/Bioretention.pdf

  • USGS water quality information about all Kansas reservoirs http://ks.water.usgs.gov/Kansas/waterdata/climate/reservoir.html

 

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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:

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WATER QUANTITY

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

Surface Water:

Streams: Flood and Drought Information:  for real time water levels on the Upper Republican 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

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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Norton Lake

(Keith Sebelius Lake)

Located southwest of Norton Kansas, Norton Dam impounds Keith Sebelius Reservoir and about 2,500 surface acres of water. Adjacent to the reservoir is the 5,500-acre Norton Wildlife Area and the Prairie Dog State Park.

http://www.kdheks.gov/tmdl/republican.,htm

 

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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