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Kansas Geological Survey, Open-file Report 1994-1
Part of the Dakota Aquifer Project

The Dakota Aquifer Program: Annual Report, FY 93

P. Allen Macfarlane, D.O. Whittemore, John H. Doveton, Tyan-ming Chu, Martin Smith, Howard Feldman, N.C. Myers and J.B. Gillespie

KGS Open File Report 1994-1

Executive Summary

Localized depletion of near-surface sources of water coupled with the need to develop new water supplies in western and central Kansas is focusing attention on the next available source of ground water, the Dakota aquifer. Insufficient information on the Dakota has limited the ability of State agencies to evaluate the aquifer as a major water source for the future. Those areas of the Dakota aquifer currently undergoing development are managed with little or no technical guidance for policy decisions.

On the basis of work conducted by the Kansas Geological Survey in FY89, several water quantity-quality problems associated with long-term development were identified. These problem areas relate to (1) water availability, (2) sources of recharge and their effects on water quality in the Dakota aquifer, (3) the impact of withdrawals of water from the Ogallala and Dakota aquifer in southwestern Kansas on future water-supply availability, (4) the effect of shallow disposal of produced oil brines in shallow subjacent zones on the Dakota aquifer in central Kansas, (5) the definition of usable zones in the Dakota aquifer, and (6) the effect of saltwater discharge from the Dakota aquifer on water quality in central Kansas stream-aquifer systems.

In FY90-93 the overall objective of the Dakota aquifer program is to characterize subregionally the water-resources potential of areas where the Dakota aquifer is shallowest and is undergoing development in central and southwestern Kansas. This region was subdivided geographically into three separate subareas of investigation. In these subareas, the aquifer is used extensively for irrigation, public water supply, and industrial uses. Insufficient up-to-date information is available in the three main sub-areas of investigation to determine how past development has affected this source of water and to project the effects of future management policies.

In FY93, Kansas Geological Survey conducted a diverse research program in subsurface geology, geohydrology, and geochemistry that focuses on the three subarea investigation areas defined in the FY90 Annual Report. The major emphasis of the FY93 Dakota aquifer program is the integration and synthesis of results from the subarea investigations in southwestern and central Kansas to develop regional, two- and three-dimensional, steady-state models of groundwater flow in the Dakota and hydraulically-connected aquifer systems. The ground-water flow pattern is an important constraint on the quantity and quality of ground water available to wells. The regional models of the Dakota aquifer are being used to further investigate the flow system within the aquifer and its major influences and develop water budgets. Subregional model development to address water management issues in the 16 southwestern Kansas counties, including Southwestern Kansas Groundwater Management District #3, was initiated by the U.S. Geological Survey during this fiscal year. The results of the water sampling and analysis by the Nuclear Chemistry Division, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, reported in the FY92 and this year's annual reports are being used to help support the interpretation of regional hydrogeology from the steady-state northern vertical profile model, reported on in the FY92 Annual Report. Looking towards future work in northwest Kansas some preliminary work was carried out to assess the suitability of borehole geophysical logging techniques to determine water quality in the Dakota aquifer. In the area of research support, the FY92 Dakota aquifer program annual report was completed and published as KGS Open-file Report 93-1.

In FY94, the major program objectives are to: (1) complete the calibration and testing of all two- and three-dimensional steady-state regional models, (2) continue development of a management model of the High Plains/Dakota aquifer system in southwestern Kansas, (3) use geostatistical techniques to investigate the distribution of sandstone bodies within the Dakota aquifer, (4) develop maps of regional water quality in the northwest Kansas Dakota aquifer using borehole geophysical log analysis techniques, and (5) begin to lay the groundwork for developing models of the flow system in the Dakota of northwest Kansas and adjacent areas of Colorado and Nebraska. The regional models in Objective 1 will be used to (1) assess the influence of the hydrologic properties of the Dakota aquifer and the Upper Cretaceous aquitard and the effect of topography on the functioning of the flow system and (2) identify the major sources of recharge to and discharge from the Dakota.

The complete text of this report is available as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file.

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Kansas Geological Survey, Geohydrology
Placed online Nov. 15, 2013
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