The Equus Beds aquifer in southwestern Harvey County and northwestern Sedgwick County was developed to supply water to the city of Wichita and for irrigation in south-central Kansas. Water-level and storage-volume decreases that began with the development of the aquifer in the 1940s reached record to near-record lows in January 1993. Since 1993, the aquifer has been experiencing higher water levels and a partial recovery of storage volume previously lost during August 1940 to January 1993. Measured water-level changes for August 1940 to July 2008 ranged from a decline of 23.41 feet to a rise of 3.58 feet. The change in storage volume in the study area from August 1940 to July 2008 was a decrease of about 134,000 acre-feet. This represents a recovery of about 121,000 acre-feet, or about 47 percent of the storage volume previously lost between August 1940 and January 1993. The change in storage volume from August 1940 to July 2008 in the central part of the study area, where city pumpage occurs, was a decrease of about 71,200 acre-feet. This represents a recovery of about 82,800 acre-feet, or about 54 percent of the storage volume previously lost between August 1940 and January 1993 in the central part of the study area. The recovery in the central part of the study area probably was greater and more consistently maintained than in the study area as a whole because city pumpage has remained less than pre-1993 levels, whereas agricultural irrigation pumpage has been as much or more than pre-1993 levels in some years.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Status of Ground-Water Levels and Storage Volume in the Equus Beds Aquifer Near Wichita, Kansas, July 2008