The writers analyze the hydrologic budget and quantify the ground-water recharge impact of the Great Flood of 1993 on the Great Bend Prairie aquifer of south-central Kansas. During the summer of 1993, rainfall totals exceeded normal levels by 200% in the northern portion of the study area, while air temperature and evapotranspiration were below normal levels. This extreme event provided the opportunity to revisit previously developed recharge-estimation algorithms. Average ground-water recharge for 1993 at four index sites was estimated at 178 mm using the hybrid water-fluctuation method of Sophocleous. Employing the recharge-estimation multiple-regression methodology of Sophocleous for the area, the writers estimated the 1993 recharge to be 145 mm. Both estimates are higher than the maximum annual recharge observed at the index sites during the 1985-1992 period. A January-July 1993 hydrologic balance analysis resulted in 130 mm of recharge. The recharge caused by the flood was three to more than four times the average annual recharge of the previous eight years. The regression-based recharge-estimation methodology proved to be generally reliable, even under extreme conditions.
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Hydrologic impact of Great Flood of 1993 in south-central Kansas