Home Reports Start

2005 Annual Water Level Data Collection Report for Kansas

Prev Page--Executive Summary || Next Page--Conclusions

2005 KGS Acquisition Activity

Data Acquisition

A field crew from the KGS acquired data from 564 wells in 16 western Kansas counties during January 2005 (Figure 3). The measurement technique and overall responsibilities associated with the 2005 annual water-level measurement program were completely consistent with previous years' acquisition activities of both the USGS and KGS (Miller, 1996; Miller, Davis, and Olea, 1997; Miller, Davis, and Olea, 1998; Miller and Davis, 1999; Miller, Davis, and Laflen, 2000; Laflen and Miller, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004). Prior to 2001, data acquisition was accomplished during two field periods with the first (primary) extending approximately from January 3 to January 9, with the second about a week later. During primary acquisition, each well was visited and data collected (water level below ground surface, well condition, GPS, photograph, well characteristics, and general observational notes). New in 2001, enhancement/replacement wells were located and measured during the primary visit as well as all the Quality Assurance (QA), Quality Control (QC), and missing (MIA) wells. The secondary acquisition, designed to finish the measurement of QA, QC, and other missing wells, was incorporated into the primary acquisition campaign for 2001, thus removing the need for a "clean up" or secondary trip. Since the 2002 campaign, difficult-to-measure or initially inaccessible wells have been visited multiple times by several individuals, usually within 24 hours of the initial suspect reading, thus giving a more timely comparison of individual results and a better understanding of potentially problematic areas. All raw data acquired by the KGS on the 2005 water-level measurement program were compiled, digitally stored, and available for widespread circulation in their raw, unprocessed form (digital and/or analog) on or about March 1, 2005. This section represents a summary of all KGS activity related to the raw data, acquisition activities, and technique development.

Acquisition Logistics

After the realignment of counties, KGS was responsible for 564 wells in 2005, an increase of 72 wells over 2004 (Figures 2 and 3). The 2005 measurement trip was completed in five days by a crew of eight people (with a ninth picking up problem wells and measuring new wells). Each person was equipped with a vehicle, computer, GPS, cellular phone, field notes, steel measuring tape, and associated supplies. The first day ended in St. Francis with three counties completed (Logan, Rawlins, and Thomas). The far north-western counties (Cheyenne, Sherman, and Wallace) were completed the second day, requiring an overnight stay in Syracuse. The third day of measurements ended in Hugoton and saw the completion of four more counties (Greeley, Hamilton, Stanton, and Wichita). The fourth field day ended in Dodge City, with four more counties completed (Morton, Stevens, Seward, and Meade). The crew returned to Lawrence on the fifth day after completing the final two counties (Ford and Hodgeman).

During the primary acquisition trip the eight crew members were divided into four teams. Each team was responsible for 20 to 32 wells per day along pre-designated closed routes. Each day's route was designed so team members would meet along the route after all wells were visited. This method balanced work-loads by compensating for different degrees of measurement difficulty (different lengths of time are necessary to measure individual wells), ensured that no wells were overlooked during the primary measurement trip, and minimized the number of miles traveled per well and route. Distribution of crew members and routes was designed to ensure that no crew member was more than 15 to 20 miles from another crew member. This increased safety and minimized the time necessary to complete a county. Once a team completed its route, the other teams were contacted to determine if assistance was necessary to complete all routes prior to sunset. After a team completed its route and fulfilled any requests for assistance, they proceeded to a pre-designated motel. Approximately 14,750 miles were logged during the 2005 measurement trip with the average crew member visiting 17.5 wells per day and spending about 15 minutes at each well and about 25 minutes traveling between wells.


Prior to 2001 the QC/MIA/QA/enhancement well trip required a minimum of two days for two people to complete. In 2001 the QC/MIA/QA/enhancement data acquisition was incorporated into the primary trip, thus eliminating the second trip and adding to the overall program efficiency. The QC accomplished during the primary trip was designed to remeasure wells classified as out-of-trend during primary acquisition. The 2005 QC water-level remeasurement included wells in all counties. These wells were selected based on the following criteria:

  1. calculated water level was up by more than 1 ft from historical and 2004 trend; or
  2. calculated water level was down by more than 4 ft from historical and 2004 trend.

Thirteen wells identified as MIA were not measured during the trip for one reason or another. The thirteen represent the difference between the total number of wells (564) and the number of wells with readings (551).

The QA acquisition provided repeat measurement data for the purpose of statistical appraisal of measurement error. Fifty-six wells, or 10% of all the wells measured by the KGS during 2005, were randomly selected by computer for remeasurement.

Again this year, an attempt was made to fill some of the spatially undersampled areas within the network (Bohling and Wilson, 2004). To fully sample the High Plains aquifer from water-level data, 32 new well sites were identified. Input from the GMDs, DWR, and KGS identified 32 wells in areas that are spatially undersampled and that have sufficient historical and construction data to justify an attempted measurement. Twenty of the 32 candidate wells were sampled during 2005 as new annual network wells. The selection and measurement of these enhancement wells is critical to establishing a method for maintaining the health and continuity of the network through the insertion of new wells to replace unusable wells already in the network.

Well and Measurement Point Information

A few key well characteristics have been compiled for general information and incorporation into efforts to improve and maximize the network. Statistics and characteristics for DWR wells are also included.

Wells Measured in 2005
Type of Well KGS DWR
Unused (monitor or abandoned)88171
Depth to Water KGS DWR
Less than 100 ft141462
100 to 200 ft289199
200 to 300 ft11448
More than 300 ft727
Drill Depth of Well KGS DWR
Less than 100 ft54254
100 to 200 ft121228
200 to 300 ft161100
300 to 400 ft8937
More than 400 ft6957
Measurement Characteristics KGS DWR
Oil on the water78
Difficult measurement
(restrictions, snags, catches)
Noted changes in restrictions1

In-field confidence in a particular measurement was qualitatively determined through inspection of chalk cut while general accuracy was quantitatively appraised using historical and local trends.

Measurement Confidence
Wells Measured Only KGS DWR
Three times166
Four times00
Total Measurements KGS DWR
Primary, QA, and QC645776
Measurements Judged KGS DWR

Network Continuity

An uninterrupted historical record is important for trend determination and analysis. Significant efforts were made to acquire measurements in all wells regardless of whether the well had been successfully measured in any of the last three years. Wells with problems that were not likely to improve between measurement years were identified by each measurer and then cross-checked by the QC measurer. If both visitors indicate that a well needs to be removed from the network, it generally is dropped from the next year's list of annual measurement wells. A total of six wells were flagged for replacement by KGS field personnel during the 2005 acquisition season.

Six Wells from KGS Portion Requiring Replacement and Reason--2005
15S 42W02BBB 01 Destroyed
16S 36W 07BCB 01 Dry
27S 24W 04BBC 01 Destroyed
30S 26W 13 ABB 01 Dry
30S 30W 06CCC 01 Destroyed
31S 35W 15BAA 01 Destroyed
Ten Wells from DWR Portion Requiring Replacement and Reason--2005
04S 30W 31BBB 01 No access to water
28S 38W 12BCB 02 Plugged
24S 36W 30BC 01 Destroyed
25S 35W 17AAA 01 No access to water
22S 08W 09DBB 01 Dry
17S 19W 23CDB 01 Dry
06S 29W 33CDA 01 Destroyed
09S 30W 03ABB 01 Destroyed
22S 13W 05CBC 01 Household domestic well
25S 12W 16DCA 01 No access to water

To maintain the long-term health and continuity of the network, both wells that should be replaced and acceptable replacements should be immediately identified. Field observations are the most important and insightful method of identifying wells needing replacement; however, statistical quality-control analysis has provided valuable insight into the reliability of network wells measured in 2005.

For a seventh year the KGS crews were deployed with acquisition software running on Palm handheld computers and notebook PCs interfaced to GPS units. This system has been under development at the KGS for the last eight years. It is designed to provide the measurer with historical data, warning messages in the event of an out-of-trend measurement or incorrect well location, automated depth-to-water calculations based on hold and cut, and real-time tracking and vehicle location displays. The system's primary focus is on ensuring that the correct wells are measured and on enforcing complete well-site documentation. The GPS units provide the associated computer with a tracking log, which permits time and location of each measurer to be determined throughout the day. During the 2005 measurement program, the KGS crews logged approximately 14,750 miles in five days (Figure 4). GPS-measured latitudes and longitudes can be extracted from this log and used to improve the accuracy of well locations in WIZARD.

Figure 4--Example of tracking logs of all measurers as recorded by the GPS/computer systems located in each vehicle.

Map of western Kansas showing path of vehicle from GPS unit.

Water Levels for 2005

Wells are grouped by county and then cataloged according to well ID (township, range, section system). All measurements taken during the annual measurement period are reported in Appendices C and D. In some cases a single well may have as many as four recorded measurements. The best value was determined by the field person(s) who measured the well. The best measurement was based on quality of cut, difficulty reaching the hold line, ease of retrieving the tape from below water level, pre-cut moisture, level of confidence that the tape was hanging unimpaired in the borehole, and accuracy of measurement point hold.

The raw data tabulated in this report are organized into five appendices. A brief discussion of the contents of each appendix follows.

Appendix A Contains a summary of information for all wells measured by KGS. This appendix includes only county, well legal description (ID), and 2005 depth of water below ground surface (BGS). Quality Assurance measurements (QA) are identified.
Appendix B The same information as Appendix A, but for DWR wells.
Appendix C Contains all measurements and characteristics taken at every well in the KGS portion of the network. Included are the following categories of information: County, legal description (ID), GPS Lat, GPS Long, hold point, cut line, measurement-point (MP) elevation, 2005 depth to water BGS, initials of measurer, measuring agency, and all comments.
Appendix D The same information as Appendix C, but for DWR wells.
Appendix E List by county of wells (legal description, ID) measured as part of the QA program. The list includes the primary measurement of DTW and the QA measurement of DTW.
Appendix F Contains the same information as Appendices C and D for all enhancement wells.

A direct comparison of primary measurements and the QA measurements made by the KGS reveals important information about the accuracy and repeatability of information in the database (Appendix E). The time separation between the primary and QA measurements is generally less than 24 hours in all cases, and often the same day. This re-measure information, along with parts of the primary data, are integral to quality-control discussions docu-mented in subsequent sections of this report.

KGS Data Acquisition Summary

In summary, this year's effort by the KGS staff to acquire annual water-level measurements met or exceeded most expectations. Based on preliminary analysis:

1) Systematic errors are an important indicator of erratic wells that should be removed from the network to ensure that the network is accurate and that confidence can be placed in the data (see Bohling and Wilson, 2004).

2) More data have been acquired in each of the last nine years (1997-2005) than in the previous seven years (1990-1996).

3) The availability of digital and analog measurement data (for entire network) to DWR, KGS Geohydrology staff, and GMDs has been dramatically improved over years prior to 1997. Both the current year's measurements and historical water-level data are archived and maintained at the KGS in a centralized database (WIZARD) that can be accessed through the World Wide Web at www.kgs.ku.edu/Magellan/WaterLevels/index.html. Just the Township-Range-Section identifier and the water level for each well measured are also provided in tabular form at www.kgs.ku.edu/Magellan/WaterLevels/CD/index.htm.

4) Field acquisition time has been reduced (2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, and 2001 required 5 days; 2000 and 1999 required 5.5 days; 1998 required 6.5 days; 1997 required 8 days); the historical average of time required for field data collection has been about two months.

5) Long-term improvements to the network and database are being made.

  1. All wells measured in 2005 have GPS lat and long and photographs;
  2. Errors, missing information, and incorrect information in both KGS and USGS historical databases are being identified, evaluated, and corrected;
  3. Spatial distributions of wells based on aquifers were evaluated in 2000 and remediation efforts are underway for a fifth year;
  4. Wells are being added by the KGS to the network to fill "holes" as determined by spatial analysis;
  5. Acquisition techniques and procedures are being modified and improved based on statistical analyses;
  6. The Kansas water-well database (WIZARD) has been established for quick access to all water-level information in the state through a Web site; and
  7. The Quality Control program is providing valuable information about measurable wells that have erratic behavior and which should be removed from the network.

6) The total program costs for 1999-2005 were about 75% of 1998 and 1997, which were both consistent with the amount paid to the USGS in 1996 to complete this study. When calculated using an equivalent* product, the cost to the Kansas Survey for the 1997 and 1998 water-level data is about half that assessed by the USGS in 1996 and less than one-third of the USGS 1996 costs for the 1999 acquisition season. [*Note: Equivalent product cost does not include extra program activities such as QA or QC data acquisition, analysis, or computer and GPS equipment.] Technological advances in recent years have allowed continuation of these savings.

Development of a Kansas water-well database was undertaken by the KGS in an attempt to make information quickly and easily accessible to the general public about water wells, both those that are part of the annual network and many that are not. This database provides quick and accurate information about potential replacement or enhancement candidates throughout the state. The database, by design, includes all significant information contained in the USGS's GWSI database, the KGS's KIWI database, and the KGS's WaterWitch database. It is the intent of the database's designers to incorporate portions of DWR's WRIS, KDHE's WWC5, City of Wichita, and each of the five GMDs' water-well databases. Once this database, named WIZARD, is complete, it should contain the most inclusive listing anywhere of information on water wells in Kansas. It is the intent that frequent uploads from each of the parent databases will ensure that information in the database is current.

Prev Page--Executive Summary || Next Page--Conclusions

Kansas Geological Survey, Water Level CD-ROM
Send comments and/or suggestions to webadmin@kgs.ku.edu
Updated Jan. 5, 2006
Available online at URL = http://www.kgs.ku.edu/Magellan/WaterLevels/CD/Reports/OFR05_55/rep02.htm