Ground Water, Continued
Discharge of Subsurface WaterGround 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, and 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 discharged from the plants by the process known as transpiration. In most of Seward County the depth to the water table is so great that there is no transpiration or evaporation from the zone of saturation or from the capillary fringe. In Cimarron Valley, however, the water table is shallow and much ground water is discharged by these processes.
Discharge by Springs and Seeps
A relatively small amount of ground water is discharged by springs in Seward County. The only spring noted in the county was in the S 1/2 sec. 6, T. 33 S., R. 32 W. Residents reported that there were formerly several springs in that vicinity. The water from the spring is ponded in a small tributary to Cimarron River by a small dam. The water seemingly does not flow from the principal zone of saturation but from a perched body of water overlying a relatively impermeable mortar bed. A similar spring was observed in Wolf Canyon in Meade County a few yards east of the E. line sec. 12, T. 35 S., R. 31 W. The water there also is flowing from a perched body of water.
The seepage of water into Cimarron River is one of the principal processes of discharge of ground water in Seward County. In most of Seward County the channel of Cimarron River is lower than the level of the water table in the adjacent upland areas; hence the groundwater moves toward the river and discharges into the stream channel. Toward the southeast the rate of discharge increases because the difference between the altitude of the stream channel and the altitude of the water table in adjacent areas increases.
Discharge by Subsurface Flow
Much ground water is discharged from this area by subsurface flow into adjacent areas toward the east and south. This is indicated by the slope of the water table (Pl. 1), which indicates that the water moves into Meade County and into Texas and Beaver Counties, Oklahoma.
Discharge by Wells
Another method of discharge of water from the groundwater reservoir is the discharge of water from wells. All domestic, industrial, railroad, and municipal supplies of water and much of the livestock supply of water in Seward County are derived from wells. The amount of water discharged from wells for these purposes, however, is relatively small. The recovery of ground water from wells is discussed in the next section.
Kansas Geological Survey, Seward County Geohydrology|
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Web version Sept. 2001. Original publication date March. 1948.