This paper presents the results of a comprehensive modeling study of surface and groundwater systems, including stream– aquifer interactions, for the Wet Walnut Creek Watershed in west-central Kansas. The main objective of this study was to assess the impacts of watershed structures and irrigation water use on streamflow and groundwater levels, which in turn affect availability of water for the Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Refuge Management area. The surface-water flow model, POTYLDR, and the groundwater flow model, MODFLOW, were combined into an integrated, watershed-scale, continuous simulation model. Major revisions and enhancements were made to the POTYLDR and MODFLOW models for simulating the detailed hydrologic budget for the Wet Walnut Creek Watershed. The computer simulation model was calibrated and verified using historical streamflow records (at Albert and Nekoma gaging stations), reported irrigation water use, observed water-level elevations in watershed structure pools, and groundwater levels in the alluvial aquifer system. To assess the impact of watershed structures and irrigation water use on streamflow and groundwater levels, a number of hypothetical management scenarios were simulated under various operational criteria for watershed structures and different annual limits on water use for irrigation. A standard “base case” was defined to allow comparative analysis of the results of different scenarios. The simulated streamflows showed that watershed structures decrease both streamflows and groundwater levels in the watershed. The amount of water used for irrigation has a substantial effect on the total simulated streamflow and groundwater levels, indicating that irrigation is a major budget item for managing water resources in the watershed.
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