Grant, Haskell, and Stevens County Geohydrology

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Table of Contents




General Geology

Ground Water

Geologic Formations

Well Records

Well Logs




Ground Water, continued

Discharge of Subsurface Water

The discharge of subsurface water has been divided by Meinzer (1923a, pp. 48-56) into vadose-water discharge (discharge of soil water not derived from the zone of saturation) and ground-water discharge (discharge of water from the zone of saturation).

Vadose-water Discharge

The discharge of soil water not derived from the zone of saturation is called vadose-water discharge and includes the discharge of water directly from the soil by evaporation and through growing plants by transpiration. The consumption of soil water by crops is large and is of vital importance to agriculture. This consumption of soil water generally reduces the recharge, for the deficiency of soil moisture must be replenished before recharge can take place.

Ground-water Discharge

Ground-water discharge is the discharge of water directly from the zone of saturation or from the capillary fringe and may take place through evaporation and transpiration or as hydraulic discharge through springs, seeps, wells, or infiltration galleries.

Discharge by transpiration and evaporation--Water may be taken into the roots of plants directly from the zone of saturation or from the capillary fringe, and be discharged from the plants by the process known as transpiration. The depth from which plants will lift the ground water varies with species of plants and types of soil. The limit of lift by ordinary grasses and field crops is not more than a few feet; however, alfalfa and certain types of desert plants have been known to send their roots to depths of 60 feet or more to reach the water table (Meinzer, 1923, p. 82).

Discharge of ground water by evaporation and transpiration in Grant, Haskell, and Stevens Counties probably is limited to areas where the depth to water level is small, such as the Cimarron Valley area, Bear Creek depression, and parts of the Stanton area. In these areas such discharge probably is very slight except in the lowlands along the Cimarron River and North Fork Cimarron River. In North Fork Cimarron Valley some ground water is transpired by alfalfa, and much water is evaporated from the small ponds in the stream channel that are fed by ground-water discharge. Water is also discharged by evaporation from the broad sandy channel of the Cimarron River, particularly in parts of Stevens and Grant Counties where the water table is at or near the level of the channel. The discharge by transpiration along the Cimarron River probably is not great because of the scanty vegetative covering.

Discharge by springs and seeps--Some ground water in this area is discharged by springs and seeps, although the amount is relatively small. Most important of these is Wagon Bed Spring, in the north half of sec. 33, T. 30 S., R. 37 W. near the Ulysses bridge, at a well-known camp site on the old Santa Fe trail. There are a few other springs and many seeps along the Cimarron River and North Fork Cimarron River but they are small.

Discharge by wells--Another method of discharge of water from the ground-water reservoir is by pumping from wells. There were 20 irrigation wells in operation in this area in 1943 and there were municipal wells at Ulysses, Sublette, Satanta, Moscow, and Hugoton. Most of the rural residents of the area derive their domestic and stock supplies of water from wells, but the amount of water discharged for this purpose is relatively small. The recovery of ground water from wells is discussed in the next section.

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  Kansas Geological Survey, Grant, Haskell, and Stevens Geohydrology
Comments to
Web version May 2002. Original publication date July 1946.