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Proposed Management Areas of the Dakota Aquifer in Kansas

by P. A. Macfarlane and D. O. Whittemore
Kansas Geological Survey
Open-file Report 96-1a


The regional hydrogeologic setting, including sources of recharge, discharge, ground-water flow paths, and water quality are highly variable in the Dakota aquifer of Kansas. Locally, the heterogeneity in the aquifer framework strongly influences ground-water availability and the potential for inducing water-quality problems. Development in some areas may also induce capture (the increase in recharge and the decrease in discharge that results from pumping near recharge or discharge areas). Whereas development in other areas may only result in ground-water mining and eventual depletion of the aquifer.

This variability in character and response to water-resources development strongly indicates that management of water resources in the Dakota aquifer is best undertaken at the subregional level. At this level, the hydrogeologic and water-quality characteristics are similar within a certain range of possible states and parameter values. Each subarea or management area has its own set of factors to consider in developing appropriate policies and plans for development. Hence, the constraints on water-resources development will vary from one management area of the aquifer to another. A somewhat similar basis was used to define distinct subregions of the High Plains aquifer and the boundaries of the groundwater management districts. Groundwater Management Districts #2 and #5 differ from the other western groundwater management districts in their hydrogeologic and water quality characteristics. However, for the Dakota, it is not appropriate to establish groundwater management districts because the boundary locations between management areas are not well known and may change as new information becomes available. Locally, the Dakota remains a relatively unknown aquifer system in Kansas in comparison to the High Plains aquifer. Also, the rate and intensity of development now and in the future are important factors which may necessitate the adjustment of these boundaries in the future. We have partially addressed these factors by arbitrarily selecting a 20 yr planning horizon.

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Kansas Geological Survey, Dakota Aquifer Program
Original report available from the Kansas Geological Survey.
Electronic version placed online July 1996
Scientific comments to P. Allen Macfarlane
Web comments to webadmin@kgs.ku.edu