The amounts and time distribution of groundwater recharge from precipitation over an approximately 19-month period were investigated at two instrumented sites in south-central Kansas. Precipitation and evapotranspiration sequences, soil-moisture profiles and storage changes, water fluxes in the unsaturated zone and hydraulic gradients in the saturated zone at various depths, soil temperatures, water-table hydrographs, and water-level changes in nearby wells clearly depict the recharge process. Antecedent moisture conditions and the thickness and nature of the unsaturated zone were found to be the major factors affecting recharge. Although the two instrumented sites are located in sand-dune environments in areas characterized by shallow water table and subhumid continental climate, a significant difference was observed in the estimated effective recharge. The estimates ranged from less than 2.5 to approximately 154 mm at the two sites from February to June 1983. The main reasons for this large difference in recharge estimates were the greater thickness of the unsaturated zone and the lower moisture content in that zone resulting from lower precipitation and higher potential evapotranspiration for one of the sites. Effective recharge took place only during late winter and spring. No summer or fall recharge was observed at either site during the observation period of this study. ?? 1985.
Additional publication details
Experimental studies in natural groundwater-recharge dynamics: The analysis of observed recharge events