Water demands in Kansas, 1944-84

Water-Resources Investigations Report 86-4038




The State of Kansas has administered water rights according to an appropriations doctrine since 1945. Water rights are issued by the Kansas State Board of Agriculture, Division of Water Resources, for eight categories of beneficial use. Water rights data and limited information on reported water use are stored on a computerized State data base; the U.S. Geological Survey cooperates with the State on maintenance of this system. This report analyzes trends in appropriations from 1944-84 for surface and groundwater for three major categories of use: irrigation, public supply, and industry. Demands for water, represented by these appropriations, are compared for three geographic areas within the State. These areas correspond to general patterns of water availability, population, and enterprises. As of 1984, 87% of the water appropriated for the three major types of use was for irrigation; most of this demand was for groundwater in the western one-third of the State. Seventy-five percent of the water demands in the central one-third of Kansas were met by groundwater; appropriations for irrigation represent the largest demand on water supplies in this area but must compete with appropriations for public supply and industry. Demands for surface water have increased substantially only in the eastern part of the State for industrial use and public supplies. The most prominent trends in water rights permit activity were related to climatic fluctuations, particularly the drought of the 1950's, legislative changes in the 1970 's requiring permits, and growth of urban populations in the central and eastern areas of the State. Analysis of trends in water appropriations can be useful in understanding the water issues facing Kansas in the future. (Author 's abstract)

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USGS Numbered Series
Water demands in Kansas, 1944-84
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Water-Resources Investigations Report
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U.S. Geological Survey,
iv, 17 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.