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Kansas Geological Survey, Public Information Circular (PIC) 10
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Factors Affecting Local Ground-water Availability

The yield of water from a well is affected by the well's design and condition, the pumping equipment, and the aquifer's ability to produce water. In the Dakota, this ability is a function of the thickness of the sandstone units available to the well and the permeability of the aquifer. In general, the greater the thickness of sandstone adjacent to the well screen, the greater the yield. Field and laboratory testing indicates that sandstones in the Dakota are generally more permeable in central than western Kansas.

The depth to the top of the Dakota from the surface is an important factor in drilling and in the cost of water production. The greater the depth to the aquifer, the greater the amount of energy needed to pump water to the surface, resulting in higher production costs. In northwestern Kansas, the top of the Dakota is more than 2,000 feet (610 m) deep. Where the Dakota is used as a source of water, the top of the aquifer is generally less than 1,000 feet (305 m).

Ground-water salinity also affects the water's usefulness (fig. 3). Typically, the freshest water in the Dakota is near the top of the aquifer. Salinity is a particular concern in parts of north-central and northwestern Kansas where the Dakota is unusable for most purposes. However, in southwestern Kansas, the aquifer yields usable water. Even here, treatment may be required to remove undesirable constituents from the water, such as iron and manganese, or to reduce the dissolved solids levels.

Figure 3--Distribution of total dissolved solids (TDS) concentrations in ground waters in the upper Dakota aquifer in western and central Kansas.

Worse water at northern side, better water to the south.

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Kansas Geological Survey, Public Outreach
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Web version May 1998