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Geohydrology of Southwestern Kansas

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Future Outlook for Irrigation

Economic Factors

Irrigation is a principal factor in the economy of southwestern Kansas. Some of the major problems that have greatest economic significance to the irrigator are crop prices, fuel and power costs, dependability of fuel supplies, and the efficient use of available water and power. As government control and farm programs tend to regulate prices and fuel supplies, the individual irrigator probably can gain the most benefit by increasing the efficiency of water and power use.

Additional water may be made available by utilizing potholes and tailwater pits to collect excess runoff from precipitation or waste water from irrigation. Portable pumps and lines could be used to convey the additional water to the crops as needed.

Declining water levels may result in lower well yields, which could necessitate changes in the engineering of the pumping plants. It might be beneficial to lower some pump bowls in order to achieve the maximum yield of the well even if the additional lift required a larger power unit. The condition of the well casing, pumping unit, and distribution system need to be analyzed for the conservation of water and energy.

Future Studies

The present study has defined a number of areas that need additional study. Measurements are needed to monitor the rate and areal increase of the waterlevel declines. Continued analysis is necessary to determine the effects of new well development and to observe possible changes in well yields. Changes in chemical quality of water, which may become evident with declines in water level, need to be continually monitored and evaluated.

Predictive models of ground-water and surface-water relationships with the aquifer system may be used to aid in management planning. Management policies probably will depend on some way of controlling withdrawal from the groundwater reservoir by limiting (1) the amount that can be pumped per well, (2) the number of wells, or (3) the irrigated acreage.

A number of problems of limited areal extent may need further study. The sandstone aquifer needs study in order to evaluate its potential use to supplement declining yields of the unconsolidated aquifer. The relationship of the chalk aquifer to the unconsolidated aquifer needs to be studied. The relative merits of various allocation techniques need to be tested in areas critically affected by excessive drawdowns. Studies are needed to determine the source and extent of saline water in southwestern Meade and southeastern Seward Counties. Point sources of pollution, such as urban areas, water-disposal areas, and cattle-feeding operations, need monitoring sothat remedial action may be adopted.

Selected References

Bryson, W. R., Schmidt, G. W., and O'Connor, R. E., 1966, Residual salt study of brine affected soil and shale, Potwin area, Butler County, Kansas: Kansas Dept. Health Bull. 1-10, 28 p.

Busby, M. W., and Armentrout, G. W., 1965, Kansas streamflow characteristics, pt. 6A, Base flow data: Kansas Water Resources Board Tech. Rept. No. 6A, 207 p.

Byrne, F. E., and McLaughlin, T. G., 1948, Geology and ground-water resources of Seward County, Kansas: Kansas Geol. Survey, Bull. 69, 140 p. [available online]

Crippen, J. R., 1965, Natural water loss and recoverable water in mountain basins of southern California--Contributions to stream-basin hydrology: U.S. Geol. Survey, Prof. Paper 417-E, 24 p. [available online]

Fader, S. W., Gutentag, E. O., Lobmeyer, D. H., and Meyer, W. R., 1964, Geohydrology of Grant and Stanton Counties, Kansas: Kansas Geol. Survey, Bull. 168, 147 p. [available online]

Fenneman, N. M., 1931, Physiography of western United States: New York, McGraw-Hill, 534 p.

Ferris, J. G., Knowles, D. B., Brown, R. H., and Stallman, R. W., 1962, Theory of aquifer tests: U.S. Geol. Survey, Water-Supply Paper 1536-E, 174 p. [available online]

Franks, P. C., 1976, The transgressive-regressive sequence of the Cretaceous Cheyenne, Kiowa, and Dakota Formations of Kansas: Geol. Assoc. Canada, Spec. Paper No. 13, p. 469-521.

Frye, J. C., 1940, A preliminary report on the water supply of the Meade artesian basin, Meade County, Kansas: Kansas Geol. Survey, Bull. 35, 39 p.

Frye, J. C., 1942, Geology and ground-water resources of Meade County, Kansas: Kansas Geol. Survey, Bull. 45, 152 p. [available online]

Frye, J. C., and Schoff, S. L., 1942, Deep-seated solution in the Meade basin and vicinity, Kansas and Oklahoma: Am. Geophys. Union Trans., p , 35-39.

Gutentag, E. D., Lobmeyer, D. H., and McGovern, H. E., 1972, Ground water in Kearny County, southwestern Kansas: U.S. Geol. Survey, Hydrol. Inv. Atlas, HA-416. [available online]

Gutentag, E. D., Lobmeyer, D. H., McGovern, H. E., and Long, W. A., 1972, Ground water in Finney County, southwestern Kansas: U.S. Geol. Survey, Hydrol. Inv. Atlas, HA-442. [available online]

Gutentag, E. D., and Stullken, L. E., 1974, Ground water in Haskell County, southwestern Kansas: U.S. Geol. Survey, Hydrol. Inv. Atlas, HA-515. [available online]

Gutentag, E. D., and Stullken, L. E., 1976, Ground-water resources of Lane and Scott Counties, western Kansas: Kansas Geol. Survey Irrig. Ser. No. 1, 37 p. [available online]

Hart, D. L., Jr., Hoffman, G. L., and Goemaat, R. L., 1976, Geohydrology of the Oklahoma Panhandle: U.S. Geol. Survey, Water-Resources Inv. 25-75, 62 p.

Hem, J. D., 1970, 2nd ed., Study and interpretation of the chemical characteristics of natural water: U.S. Geol. Survey, Water-Supply Paper 1473, 363 p. [available online]

Hershey, L. A., and Hampton, E. R., 1974, Geohydrology of Baca and southern Prowers Counties, southeastern Colorado: U.S. Geol. Survey, Water-Resources Inv., p. 16-74.

Hill, T. P., Werner, M. A., and Horton, M. J., with introduction by Rubey, W. W., 1967, Chemical composition of sedimentary rocks in Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming: U.S. Geol. Survey, Prof. Paper 561, 241 p. [available online]

Institute for Social and Environmental Studies, 1971, Kansas Statistical Abstract: Lawrence, University of Kansas, 170 p.

Kansas State Board of Health, 1973, Water quality criteria for interstate and intrastate waters of Kansas: Kansas State Board of Health Regulations, 28-16-28, 5 p.

Latta, B.F., 1941, Geology and ground-water resources of Stanton County, Kansas: Kansas Geol. Survey, Bull. 37, 119 p.

Latta, B.F., 1944, Geology and ground-water resources of Finney and Gray Counties, Kansas: Kansas Geol. Survey, Bull. 55, 272 p. [available online]

Lobmeyer, D. H., and Sauer, C. G., 1974, Water resources of Hamilton County, southwestern Kansas: U.S. Geol. Survey, Hydrol. Inv. Atlas, HA-516. [available online]

Lohman, S. W., and others, 1972, Definition of selected ground-water terms--revisions and conceptual refinements: U.S. Geol. Survey, Water-Supply Paper 1988, 21 p. [available online]

McGovern, H. E., and Long, W. A., 1974, Ground water in Gray County, southwestern Kansas: U.S. Geol. Survey, Hydrol. Inv. Atlas, HA-517. [available online]

McLaughlin, T. G., 1942, Geology and ground-water resources of Morton County, Kansas: Kansas Geol. Survey, Bull. 40, 126 p. [available online]

McLaughlin, T. G., 1943, Geology and ground-water resources of Hamilton and Kearny Counties, Kansas: Kansas Geol. Survey, Bull. 49, 220 p. [available online]

McLaughlin, T. G., 1946, Geology and ground-water resources of Grant, Haskell, and Stevens Counties, Kansas: Kansas Geol. Survey, Bull. 61, 221 p. [available online]

McLaughlin, T. G., 1947, Accelerated channel erosion in the Cimarron Valley in southwestern Kansas: Jour. Geology, v. 55, p. 76-94.

McLaughlin, T. G., 1954, Geology and ground-water resources of Baca County, Colorado: U.S. Geol. Survey, Water-Supply Paper 1256,232 p. [available online]

Merriam, D. F., 1963, The geologic history of Kansas: Kansas Geol. Survey, Bull. 162, 317 p. [available online]

Meyer, W. R., 1962, Use of a neutron moisture probe to determine the storage coefficient of an unconfined aquifer: U.S. Geol. Survey, Prof. Paper 4520-E, p. E174-E175.

Meyer, W. R., Gutentag, L D., and Lobmeyer, D. H., 1970, Geohydrology of Finney County, southwestern Kansas: U.S. Geol. Survey, Water-Supply Paper 1891, 117 p , [available online]

Morton, R. B., 1973, Preliminary investigation of the hydrogeology of the Permian to Tertiary rocks of the Oklahoma Panhandle: U.S. Geol. Survey, Misc. Geol. Inv. Map I-738. [available online]

Morton, R. B., and Goemaat, R. L., 1973, Reconnaissance of the water resources of Beaver County, Oklahoma: U.S. Geol. Survey, Hydrol. Inv. Atlas, HA-450. [available online]

Pabst, M. L, and Jenkins, L D., 1976, Water-level changes in southwestern Kansas, 1940-75: Kansas Geol. Survey, Jour., May 1976, 26 p.

Sapik, D. B., and Goemaat, R. L., 1973, Reconnaissance of Cimarron County, Oklahoma: U.S. Geol. Survey, Hydrol. Inv. Atlas, HA-373. [available online]

Slagle, S. E., and Weakly, E. C., 1976, Ground-water resources of Greeley and Wichita Counties, western Kansas: Kansas Geol. Survey, Irrig. Ser. No. 2, 21 p. [available online]

Smith, H. T. U., 1940, Geologic studies in southwestern Kansas: Kansas Geol. Survey, Bull. 34, 212 p.

Stramel, G. J., Lane, C. W., and Hodson, W. G., 1958, Geology and ground-water hydrology of the Ingalls area, Kansas: Kansas Geol. Survey, Bull. 132, 154 p .

Stullken, L. E., Weakly, E. C., Gutentag, E. D., and Slagle, S. E., 1974, Hydrogeologic data from Greeley, Wichita, Scott, and Lane Counties, Kansas: Kansas Geol. Survey, Basic Data Ser., Ground-Water Release No. 4, 58 p.

U.S. Department of Commerce, 1975, Climatological data for Kansas--Annual Summary 1974: v. 88, no. 13.

U.S. Geological Survey, 1975, Water resources data for Kansas, pt. 1-- Surface water records, 1974: U.S. Geol. Survey, Water-Data Rept., 202 p.

U.S. Salinity Laboratory Staff, 1954, Diagnosis and improvement of saline and alkali soils: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Agriculture Handb. 60, 160 p.

Voegeli, P. T., Sr., and Hershey, L. A., 1965, Geology and ground-water resources of Prowers County, Colorado: U.S. Geol. Survey, Water-Supply Paper 1772, 101 p. [available online]

Waite, H. A., 1947, Geology and ground-water resources of Scott County, Kansas: Kansas Geol. Survey, Bull. 156, 155 p. [available online]

Wood, P. R., and Hart, D. L., Jr., 1967, Availability of ground water in Texas County, Oklahoma: U.S. Geol. Survey, Hydro. Inv. Atlas, HA-250. [available online]

Glossary of Geohydrologic Terms

Most of the definitions of geohydrologic terms given below are taken from Lohman and others (1972).

Acre-foot--The amount of water needed to cover 1 acre to a depth of 1 foot; equals 325,851 gallons.

Aquifer--Formation, group of formations, or part of a formation that contains sufficient saturated permeable material to yield significant quantities of water to wells and springs.

Caliche--A deposit of clay, silt, sand, or gravel cemented by porous calcium carbonate to form a concrete-like deposit (mortar beds).

Confined ground water--Ground water that is under pressure significantly greater than atmospheric and that has as its upper limit the bottom of a bed of distinctly lower hydraulic conductivity than that of the material in which the confined water occurs.

Confining bed--A body of impermeable or distinctly less permeable material stratigraphically adjacent to one or more aquifers.

Head--When used alone, head is understood to mean static head, which is the height above a standard datum of the surface of a column of water that can be supported by the static pressure at a given point (see potentiometric surface).

Hydraulic conductivity--The volume of water at the existing kinematic viscosity that will move through an isotropic porous medium in unit time under a unit hydraulic gradient through a unit area measured at right angles to the direction of flow.

Hydraulic gradient--The change in static head per unit of distance in a given direction.

Lenticular--Describes deposits shaped like lenses when viewed in cross section.

Percolation--Laminar flow of water, moving by the force of gravity or hydrostatic pressure, through a porous material.

Potentiometric surface--A surface that represents the hydrostatic head. In a confined (artesian) aquifer, the water is under a pressure significantly greater than atmospheric, and the surface is defined by the levels to which water stands in wells above the water body tapped. In an unconfined aquifer, the surface coincides with the water table.

Reentrant--A transverse valley extending into an escarpment.

Saturated thickness--The amount (thickness) of aquifer material that is saturated.

Specific capacity--The rate of discharge of water from the well divided by the drawdown of water level within the well.

Specific conductance--A measure of the ability of water to conduct an electrical current and related to the concentration of specific chemical ions in solution.

Specific yield--The ratio of (1) the volume of water that the rock or soil, after being saturated, will yield by gravity to (2) the volume of the rock or soil. The definition implies that gravity drainage is complete.

Storage coefficient--The volume of water an aquifer releases from or takes into storage per unit surface area of the aquifer per unit change in head. In an unconfined water body, the storage coefficient is virtually equal to the specific yield.

Transmissivity--The rate at which water of the prevailing kinematic viscosity is transmitted through a unit width of the aquifer under a unit hydraulic gradient.

Unconfined ground water--Ground water in an aquifer that has a water table.

Water table--That surface in an unconfined ground-water body at which the water pressure is atmospheric. It is defined by the levels at which water stands in wells that penetrate the water body enough to hold standing water. The water table is a particular potentiometric surface.


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Kansas Geological Survey, Geohydrology
Placed on web July 28, 2013; originally published 1981.
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