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News Release, Kansas Geological Survey, Dec. 18, 1998

KGS to Measure Water Levels in Western, Central Kansas

LAWRENCE--Water specialists from the Kansas Geological Survey will measure groundwater levels in western and central Kansas during the first week of January.

The measurements are part of an annual program that monitors groundwater levels in 47 Kansas counties, according to Rick Miller, chief of exploration services at the Survey, a division of the University of Kansas. The Survey and the Division of Water Resources of the Kansas Department of Agriculture measure water levels in about 1400 wells, most of them used for irrigation.

"The measurements are used to produce a regional view of how water levels are changing annually," said Miller.

The measurements are taken in January each year, once wells have stabilized after the previous season's pumping. On the average the crews measure one well in every 16-square mile area. These wells provide a representative sampling of groundwater levels throughout the area.

About 90 percent of the measured wells take water from the High Plains aquifer, which consists of the Ogallala Formation and other water-bearing rock formations that are connected to the Ogallala.

Weather permitting, Survey crews plan to begin their measurements in northwestern Kansas on January 3. They will then move to west-central Kansas and on to southwestern Kansas, finishing in central Kansas by January 9, depending on weather and road conditions.

Survey water specialists will use global positioning systems to precisely locate each well to be measured. For the most part, the same wells are measured each year, providing a consistent, accurate snapshot of groundwater levels.

"For water-level data to be useful, it is critical that the same well be sampled each year using identical methods," said Miller.

The Survey crews will enter the results of each measurement into a computer immediately after the well is measured. The complete results of the measurements should be available from the Survey by February 1, 1999.

Information resulting from the measurements is used by landowners to monitor their own water levels and by governmental entities, such as local groundwater management districts, in making water-management decisions.

The Survey crews have requested the cooperation of local landowners during the measurements.

"The key to the quality of this data is in making timely and accurate measurements," said Miller. "And for that we depend directly on the help and cooperation of local landowners. This year we are again requesting the continued support of landowners and local communities in making this program successful."

Links of interest to this article:
KGS Public Information Circular 12--"Measuring Water Levels in Kansas," by Richard D. Miller, Rex Buchanan and Liz Brosius
WIZARD--The KGS Water Information Storage and Retrieval Database
Technical Series 12--A short extract from "January 1998 Kansas Water Levels and Data Related to Water-level Changes" by John J. Woods, Jeffrey A. Schloss, and P. Allen Macfarlane

Story by Rex Buchanan, (785) 864-3965
For more information contact Rick Miller, (785) 864-3965

Kansas Geological Survey, Publications and Public Affairs