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

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FACTS

Size: The Verdigris Basin covers approximately 4,440 square miles and encompasses all or parts of 11 counties in southeastern Kansas. 

Population: There were an estimated 103,000 residents in the basin in the year 2000, and the population is expected to grow to nearly 146,000 by the year 2040. 

Flow: The major streams in the basin are the Verdigris, Elk, Fall and the Caney and Little Caney Rivers, and Big Hill and Caney Creeks.  Elk and Fall Rivers and Big Hill Creek are tributaries to the Verdigris in Kansas, while the Caneys join the Verdigris in Oklahoma.  

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

Reservoirs: There are four major reservoirs on the river system: Toronto, Fall River, Elk City and Big Hill lakes. 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. The annual precipitation in the basin varies from approximately 34 inches in the west to almost 40 inches in the southeast corner.  Approximately 70 percent of this precipitation falls between April and September;  between 11 and 18 inches of snow falls in an average year.  The average temperature varies from 34 degrees in the winter to 79 degrees in the summer.

Economy: The local economy is based primarily on agriculture with some light industrial activity.  The major crops grown in the basin are wheat, grain sorghum and soybeans.  In addition the production of beef cattle is an important part of the agricultural economy.  Another significant portion of the economy is the production of oil and gas.

 

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Usage of Water

Surface water use makes up 98 percent of the water used in the Basin. 

Groundwater makes up 2% of water used. For more information on water use in the Verdigris 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 7.5 percent of all reported water usage (1997). 

Industry

Industry accounted for 17.5 percent.   

Municipal

Municipal accounted for 62.2 percent and recreational use accounted for 12 percent of water used in the basin

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Water Management

Significant water management entities in the basin include conservation districts throughout the basin, the See-Kan Resource Conservation and Development area and 12 watershed districts.  By virtue of its responsibility for the four major reservoirs in the basin, the Corps of Engineers is another important water management agency.

 

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/Verdigris_Basin_Nov.pdf

USGS study of stream geomorphology that includes Toronto, Fall River, Elk City and Big Hill Reservoirs.  http://ks.water.usgs.gov/Kansas/studies/fluvial/

 

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THREATS AND HAZARDS
 

 

Groundwater

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

http://toxtown.nlm.nih.gov/

Reservoirs  

http://www.swt-wc.usace.army.mil/verdigris.basinpie.cp.html

Pie chart of conservation districts

http://www.swt-wc.usace.army.mil/verdigris.htm

 

U.S. Water News:  information about national water quality issues that include Kansas, 1996-2005 http://www.uswaternews.com/archives/arcquality/arcquality.html

 

Quality

Ground Water (subsurface) 

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

Surface Water Quality

            The Section 303(d) list submitted to and approved by EPA in 1998, identifies 48 river segments and 5 lakes in the Verdigris River Basin as water quality impaired. Among the streams, the greatest number of impairments were caused by excessive levels of fecal coliform bacteria and dissolved oxygen depletion. Among the lakes, eutrophic conditions indicative of excessive algae production and dissolved oxygen depletion were the predominant cause of impairment.

Other pollutants limiting the use of the Verdigris River Basin streams include ammonia and nutrient oxygen demand. Additional lake impairments were caused by pH and fecal coliform bacteria. Each parameter causing impairment requires a TMDL.

Many of the stream segments, configured in a watershed setting, have a TMDL applied to them as a whole. Fourteen watershed and 6 lake TMDLs have been developed. These TMDLs were submitted to EPA on June 27, 2002 and have been approved.

Additional information on the Verdigris can be found at the following site:

http://www.kdheks.gov/tmdl/verdigris.htm

 

Reservoir Quality:    Toronto, Fall River, Elk City and Big Hill lakes

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.k-state.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: 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:  El Dorado and Whitewater Reservoir: 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