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1998 Annual Water Level Raw Data Report for Kansas

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I: Acquisition Activity

Richard D. Miller, Exploration Services Section


A field crew from the KGS acquired data at 542 wells in 17 western Kansas counties during January 1998 (Figure 2). The measurement technique and overall responsibilities associated with the 1998 annual water level measurement program were completely consistent with previous years acquisition activities of both the USGS and KGS (Miller, 1996; Miller, Davis, Olea, 1997). Data acquisition was broken into two field periods with the first (primary) extending from January 2 to January 10, the second running from January 24 to January 30. During the primary acquisition phase each well was visited and data taken (water level below ground surface, well condition, GPS, photograph, well characteristics, and general observational notes). The second outing was designed to acquire Quality Assurance (QA) data, Quality Control (QC) re-visits, MIA wells, and/or network enhancement wells. All raw data acquired by the KGS on the annual 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, 1998. This section represents a summary of all KGS activity related to the raw data, acquisition activities, and technique development.

Acquisition Logistics

The primary measurement trip was completed in 6.5 days by a crew of six people. Each person was equipped with a vehicle, computer, GPS, cellular phone, field notes, maps, steel measuring tape, and associated supplies. The far northwestern counties (Cheyenne, Sherman, and Wallace) were completed during the first two days, requiring overnight stays in Goodland and Syracuse. The third day of measurements ended in Liberal and saw the completion of four counties (Hamilton, Kearny, Grant, and Finney). The fourth field day ended in Sublette with three counties finished (Stevens, Haskell, and Seward). The fifth day ended in Dodge City, with two more counties (Meade and Gray) completed. The crew next stayed overnight in Larned after completing three more counties on the sixth day (Ford, Hodgeman, and Ness). The seventh day was the last day of the primary trip and required only four people one-half day to complete the last two counties (Pawnee and Barton).

During the primary acquisition trip the six crew members were divided into three teams. Each team was responsible for 18 to 32 wells per day along predesignated closed routes. Each day's route was designed so team members would meet along the route after all the wells were visited. This method balanced workloads by compensating for variable degrees of measurement difficulty (variable amounts of time necessary to actually measure individual wells), insured 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 insure that no crew member was more than 15 to 20 miles from someone else. 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 12,155 miles were logged during the primary measurement trip with the average crew member visiting 13.3 wells per day and spending about 45 minutes at each well (the average time per well includes on-site and travel time).

QC/MIA/QA/Enhancement Wells

The QC/MIA/QA/enhancement well trip required two people six days plus three days by a third person to complete. The QC trip was designed to remeasure wells classified as out of trend from the primary trip. The QC water level remeasurement covered 14 counties and included 20 wells. This QC re-visit segment of the program resulted in confirmation or successful re-measurement of 18 wells previously out of trend and required nearly 1.5 hours per well. These 20 wells were selected based on the following criteria:

  1. calculated water level was up by more than 1 ft from historical and 1998 trend; or
  2. calculated water level was down by more than 4 ft from historical and 1998 trend.
The wells identified as MIA did not receive a measurement during the primary trip. Thirty-three wells fall under this category. Of these, measurements were obtained in 21. The remaining 12 represent the difference between all available to measure in 1998 (554) and the total measured (542).

The QA trip provided repeat measurement data designed to allow statistical appraisal of measurement error. Thirty-two wells or about 6% of all the wells measured by the KGS during 1998 were randomly selected by computer for remeasurement.

New this year was an attempt to fill some of the spatially undersampled areas within the network (Olea, 1997). To fully sample the High Plains Aquifer from water level data, 47 new well sites are needed. Input from the GMDs, DWR, and KGS identified 28 wells in areas that are spatially undersampled and that have sufficient historical and construction data to justify attempted a measurement. From those 28 candidate wells, 17 were sampled during 1998 as new annual network wells. The selection and measurement of these enhancement wells have established a method that will be used in future years to maintain the health and continuity of the network.

Well and Measurement Point Information

A few key well characteristics have been compiled for general information and incorporation into any efforts to improve and maximize the network. Included when possible are statistics and characteristics for DWR wells as well.

Wells Measured in 1998
Type of WellKGSDWR
Unused (monitor or abandoned)103171
Depth to WaterKGSDWR
Less than 100 ft206445
100 to 200 ft237272
200 to 300 ft8545
More than 300 ft143
Drill Depth of WellKGSDWR
Less than 100 ft85247
100 to 200 ft88284
200 to 300 ft127140
300 to 400 ft9136
More than 400 ft7436
Measurement CharacteristicsKGSDWR
Oil on the water85 (15%)124 (15%)
Difficult measurement
(restrictions, snags, catches)
179 (32%)30 ( 3%)
Noted changes in restrictions22 ( 4%)18 ( 2%)

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 OnlyKGSDWR
Three times230
Four times140
Total MeasurementsKGSDWR
During primary and QC trips764795
During QA trips31N/A
Measurements JudgedKGSDWR

Network Continuity

An uninterrupted historical record is important in 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 one of the last three years.

Measured in 1998 but not inKGSDWR
1996 or 199534
1996, 1995, or 199432
Measured in 1997 but not in 1998632

An issue of importance for maintaining the long-term health and continuity of the network is the immediate identification of both wells that should be replaced and acceptable replacements. Based on acquisition difficulties, 22 wells have been identified in the KGS portion as strong candidates for replacement. Of the 22 wells needing replacement, 16 were unmeasurable in 1997. The remaining six were added to this list for the first time this year.

22 Wells from KGS Portion Requiring Replacement and Reason
03S 40W 09BAA 02Bottom of hole visible at ~20 ft. (97, 98)
03S 42W 26CCD 01Obstruction at ~185 ft. ('97, '98)
21S 18W 32DAA 01Buried under packed gravel at Co-op. ('98)
21S 22W 12BCB 01Solid obstruction at MP. ('98)
22S 24W 16ADB 02Collapsed well. ('97, '98)
22S 39W 03BBB 01Dirt filled in up to ~181 ft. ('97, '98)
24S 32W 35DD 01Pumping daily for Brookover Inc. ('97, '98)
24S 33W 22BCC 01Reported by property manager to be cemented. ('97, '98)
26S 24W 32CBA 01Cannot find. Referenced windmill is gone. ('97, '98)
26S 31W 36CAB 01Dry well confirmed by landowner. ('97, '98)
26S 36W 01DBB 01Blockage at 131 ft, probably pump. ('98)
27S 32W 03CBB 01No reliable measure. ('98)
28S 34W 15DAB 01Dry well. No major obstructions. ('97, '98)
28S 35W 05BCC 01Well plugged. Irrigation well 40 ft away, but with
many restrictions, cannot measure. ('97, '98)
30S 31W 24BBC 01Reported plugged by landowner. ('97, '98)
31S 32W 03DAD 01Blockage at ~250 ft. ('97, '98)
32S 38W 11ADA 01Not found. ('98)
32S 38W 23BDD 01Casing broken off. Well recently covered. ('97, '98)
32S 39W 02BBB 01Bottom at 260 ft and dry. ('97, '98)
33S 36W 26DDD 01Dry and rusty. ('97, '98)
33S 37W 23CDB 01Landowner reported plugged. ('97, '98)
34S 37W 08DAC 01Not located ('98)

This year the KGS crews were deployed with acquisition software running on notebook PCs interfaced to GPS units. This system was developed at KGS and provided historical data, warning messages for out-of-trend measurements and incorrect well locations, automated depth-to-water calculations based on hold and cut, and provided real-time tracking and vehicle location displays. The system insured that not only the correct wells were being measured, but also enforced completeness in well site docu-mentation. The GPS provided the computer with a tracking log recording time and location of each measurer throughout the day. Improved latitude and longitude measurements can be extracted from this log and used to improve the accuracy of well locations in WIZARD.

Water Levels and GPS Measurements Taken in 1998
Well Site
Trip #2Total No. of Unique
Water levels5193520542
GPS551  551

1998 Water Levels

A total of 542 of the 554 KGS wells and 765 of the 821 DWR wells have reliable depth-to-water levels reported in this document (Appendices A, B, C, D, and CD-ROM). 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. Considering historical or local water level trends could easily bias this judgment.

The raw data tabulated in this report are organized into five appendices. The following is a brief discussion of the contents of each.

Appendix A Contains a summary of information for all wells measured by KGS. This appendix includes only county, well legal description (ID), and 1998 depth of water below ground surface (BGS).
Appendix B The same information as Appendix C, 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), USGS-ID, GPS Lat, GPS Long, hold point, cut line, measurement point (MP) elevation, 1998 depth to water BGS, initials of measurer, measuring agency, and all comments.
Appendix D The same information as Appendix A, but for DWR wells.
Appendix E List by county of wells (legal description, ID) measured as part of QA program. Included is the primary measurement DTW and the QA DTW.
Appendix FContains the same information as Appendices C and D for the 17 proposed enhancement wells.

Direct comparison of primary measurements and the QA measurements made by the KGS reveals important information about the accuracy through repeatability of the data-base as a whole (Appendix E). In general, the time separation between the primary and QA measurements is about 10 days to two weeks. This remeasure information along with parts of the primary data are integral to quality control discussions documented 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 has met or exceeded most of our expectations. Based on preliminary analysis:

1) All systematic errors have been eliminated (see Statistical Quality Control section of Report).

2) More data have been acquired in both of the last two years than in any of the last 8 years (out of a total of 562 wells available to measure in 1997 and 554 in 1998).

1998, 542 wells measured (KGS) (98%)
1997, 542 wells measured (KGS) (96%)
1996, 504 wells measured (USGS) (90%)
1995, 509 wells measured (USGS) (91%)
1994, 513 wells measured (USGS) (91%)
1992, 481 wells measured (USGS) (87%)
1991, 493 wells measured (USGS) (88%)
1990, 485 wells measured (USGS) (86%)
3) Availability of digital and analog measurement data (for entire network) to DWR, KGS Geohydrology staff, and GMDs has been dramatically improved, and will be provided on CD-ROM.

4) The acquisition time has been reduced (1998 required 6.5 days; 1997 required 8 days; historical average has been around 2 months).

5) Long-term improvements to the network and data base are making great strides.

  1. All wells measured in 1998 and 1997 have GPS lat and long and photographs;
  2. errors, missing information, and incorrect information in both KGS and USGS historical data base are being identified, evaluated, and corrected;
  3. spatial distributions of wells based on aquifers are being evaluated and remediation efforts are underway for the first time ever;
  4. wells are being added by KGS to the network into "holes" as determined by spatial analysis;
  5. acquisition techniques and procedures are being modified/improved based on statistical analyses; and
  6. a Kansas water well database (WIZARD) is being established for quick access to all water level information in the state through a Web site.

6) The total program costs for 1998 and 1997 are consistent with the contract amount paid to the USGS in 1996. 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.

(*Equivalent product cost does not include extra program activities such as QA or QC data acquisition, analysis, or computer and GPS equipment.)

Development of a Kansas water well database was undertaken by the KGS in an attempt to make information accessible about wells that represent potential replacement or enhancement candidates throughout the State. This database by design will include 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 this database's designers to incorporate portions of DWR's WRIS, KDHE's WWC5, and each of the five GMDs' databases. Once this database, named WIZARD, is complete it should possess the most inclusive listing anywhere of water wells in Kansas. It is also the hope of the designer that frequent uploads from each of the parent databases will allow information in the database to stay current.


Miller, R.D., 1996, The acquisition of annual water levels in Kansas sponsored through a cooperative agreement between the KGS and USGS: Kansas Geological Survey Open-file Report 96-39.

Miller, R.D., J. Davis, and R.A. Olea, 1997, Acquisition activity, statistical quality control, and spatial quality control for 1997 annual water level data acquired by the Kansas Geological Survey: Kansas Geological Survey Open-file Report 97-33.

Olea, R.A., 1997, Sampling analysis of the annual observation water wells in Kansas: Kansas Geological Survey Open-file Report 97-73, 44 p, 10 plates.

Woods, J.J., J.A. Schloss, and P.A. Macfarlane, 1997, January 1997 Kansas water levels and data related to water-level changes: Kansas Geological Survey Technical Series 11, 90 pp.

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Kansas Geological Survey, 1999 Water Level CD-ROM
Send comments and/or suggestions to webadmin@kgs.ku.edu
Updated Mar. 8, 1998
Available online at URL = http://www.kgs.ku.edu/Magellan/WaterLevels/CD/Reports/OFR987/rep02.htm