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Kansas Geological Survey, Public Information Circular (PIC) 1
A User's Guide to Well-spacing Requirements for the Dakota Aquifer in Kansas--Part 3 of 5

Sources of Freshwater Recharge for the Dakota Aquifer

Figure 1 illustrates the areal extent of the Dakota aquifer in Kansas. At its eastern extent in central Kansas, the Dakota is a shallow aquifer that is at or near the surface. In this area, precipitation enters the aquifer directly, adding recharge (replenishment of the aquifer with water, usually a direct or indirect result of precipitation). In parts of southwestern and south-central Kansas, the Dakota aquifer is directly beneath the water-saturated Ogallala aquifer (figure 4A). Research shows that both aquifers behaved largely as a single system prior to water-well development. Near the Kansas-Colorado border in areas unaffected by pumping, the Dakota aquifer recharges the Ogallala aquifer, but farther to the east, the Ogallala recharges the Dakota. In northwestern Kansas, the Dakota aquifer is overlain by a sequence of relatively impervious shales and chalks that are up to 2,000 feet (600 m) thick in the northwest corner of the state. Recharge from precipitation in this part of the aquifer is negligible, except where this impervious layer is very thin near its eastern and southern extents (figure 4B).

Figure 4--Ground-water flow. Diagrams not to scale.

New Well-spacing Requirements for the Dakota Aquifer in Kansas

In 1994, the Division of Water Resources of the Kansas Department of Agriculture, the State agency that regulates water-well development, modified the existing well-spacing requirements for the Dakota aquifer based on research results from the Dakota Aquifer Program. Well-spacing requirements are based on the aquifer's recharge capabilities and flow rates.
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Kansas Geological Survey, Geology Extension
1930 Constant Ave., Lawrence, KS 66047-3724
Phone: (785) 864-3965, Fax: (785) 864-5317

Web version Nov. 1995