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News Release, Kansas Geological Survey, Dec. 18, 1999

KGS to Measure Water Levels in Western, Central Kansas

LAWRENCE--Water specialists from the Kansas Geological Survey, based at the University of Kansas, will be in western and central Kansas the week of January 3, 2000, measuring water levels in area wells.

The measurements are part of an annual program that monitors groundwater levels in the Ogalalla aquifer and other aquifers. The effort is part of a joint program between the Kansas Geological Survey and the Division of Water Resources of the Kansas Department of Agriculture. The two agencies annually measure about 1,400 wells, most of them used for irrigation, in 47 Kansas counties.

The wells are measured each January, once the water table has stabilized following the previous irrigation season. Crews measure an average of one well for every 16 square miles of the area.

"To get the most useful water data, we need to sample the same well at about the same time each year, using identical methods," said Rick Miller, chief of the Survey's exploration services section and head of the Survey crews that will measure the wells.

The Survey will measure water levels in approximately 600 wells, beginning in northwestern Kansas on January 4, depending on road and weather conditions. Crews will then move south, working in the area around Garden City and Liberal on January 5 and 6, then in the Dodge City and Great Bend area on January 7 and 8.

Crews will use global positioning systems and digital maps to guide them to the wells. They will enter measurement results into laptop computers, and the resulting data will be compiled and available on the Survey's web page by February 1, 2000, at

According to water scientists, the measurements should provide an accurate snapshot of regional water-level trends. Results from the measurements are used by landowners to monitor water levels in their own wells, and by governmental entities, such as local groundwater management districts, in making water-management decisions.

Results from measurements made in January 1999 showed that groundwater levels declined slightly during the previous year. Groundwater levels in southwestern Kansas dropped an average of 1.1 feet from January 1998 to1999. In west-central Kansas, water levels fell an average of 0.6 feet, and in northwestern Kansas they declined about 0.1 feet from 1998 to 1999. Average water levels of south-central Kansas aquifers rose slightly.

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

"We depend directly on the help and cooperation of local landowners," said Miller "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 13--A short extract from "January 1999 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