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News Release, Kansas Geological Survey, Dec. 10, 1996

Water Measurements Set to Begin in January

LAWRENCE--Water levels will be measured in more than 1400 wells in western and central Kansas in early January by crews from the Kansas Geological Survey, based at the University of Kansas, and the Division of Water Resources of the State Department of Agriculture.

The measurements are made annually as part of a program to monitor groundwater levels, primarily in the Ogallala aquifer that lies beneath the western third of the state. Measurements will also be taken from wells in south-central Kansas.

Many of the measured wells are used for irrigation and have been monitored since the 1950s to study water level trends in the Ogallala. Results of the measurements are used by governmental agencies, groundwater management districts, businesses, and individuals in making decisions about water use.

"Annual measurements are generally made in January, when water levels have stabilized after growing season irrigation and before spring irrigation begins," said Rick Miller, head of the Survey's exploration services section. "That gives us a consistent, accurate set of data, one that provides a snapshot of regional water levels, undisturbed by pumping or other factors."

Survey crews will begin measurements in northwestern Kansas counties on January 2, then move to the counties to the south, finishing in south-central Kansas. Survey crews will also use global positioning systems to precisely determine the location of wells that they measure. Measurements should be completed within two weeks, depending on weather conditions. Crews from the Stafford, Stockton, and Garden City field offices of the Division of Water Resources will meaure water-levels in western and south-central Kansas throughout the month of January.

Results of the measurements are produced in an annual water-level report published by the Survey. For each well measured, the report lists the depth to water, changes in water levels, and the rock formation that produces the groundwater. The report also analyzes trends in water-level changes in western and central Kansas.

The agencies request the cooperation of local landowners and well-owners during the measurement process. For more information, contact Rick Miller or Mary Brohammer at the Kansas Geological Survey (phone 785-864-3965 or via e-mail at or Lloyd Stullken at the Division of Water Resources (phone 785-296-6084).

story by Rex Buchanan, (785) 864-3965
Kansas Geological Survey, Publications and Public Affairs