The Equus Beds aquifer in south-central Kansas, which is part of the High Plains aquifer, serves as a source of water for municipal and agricultural users in the area. The city of Wichita has used the Equus Beds aquifer as one of its primary water sources since the 1940s. The aquifer in and around Wichita’s well field reached historically low water levels in 1993, prompting the city to adopt new water-use and conservation strategies to ensure future water supply needs were met. Part of the plan was to initiate a managed aquifer recharge program called the Equus Beds Aquifer Storage and Recovery project. The goal of the managed aquifer recharge program is to artificially recharge the Equus Beds aquifer with treated water from the Little Arkansas River. As part of the Equus Beds Aquifer Storage and Recovery project, the city of Wichita and the U.S. Geological Survey have partnered in a long-term cooperative study to monitor and describe the quantity and quality of the water in the Equus Beds aquifer and the Little Arkansas River.
The city of Wichita, the Equus Beds Groundwater Management District No. 2, the Kansas Department of Agriculture–Division of Water Resources, and the U.S. Geological Survey collected groundwater levels in numerous wells screened in the Equus Beds aquifer in the area in and around Wichita’s well field in January 2016. The measurements were used to interpolate potentiometric surfaces for shallow and deep parts of the aquifer in the study area. These potentiometric surfaces were compared with potentiometric surfaces from previous years to estimate changes in water levels and storage volume in the study area.
Groundwater levels were generally higher in January 2016 than they were in January 2015. On average, in January 2016, groundwater levels in the shallow part of the aquifer were about 3.4 feet higher and groundwater levels in the deep part of the aquifer were about 3.8 feet higher than in January 2015. The volume of water stored in the study area decreased by about 74,000 acre-feet between predevelopment (the time period before substantial pumpage began in the 1940s) and January 2016; increased by about 121,000 acre-feet between the historic low in 1993 and January 2016; and increased by about 61,000 acre-feet between January 2015 and January 2016. About 62 percent of the storage volume lost between predevelopment and 1993 has been recovered. The increase in storage volume from January 2015 to January 2016 can probably be attributed to less pumping by the city of Wichita and irrigators, more recharge due to higher-than-average precipitation, and higher volumes of artificial recharge in 2015.
Klager, B.J., 2016, Status of groundwater levels and storage volume in the Equus Beds aquifer near Wichita, Kansas, January 2016: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5165, 15 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20165165.
ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)
Table of Contents
- Potentiometric Surface Maps, January 2016
- Groundwater-Level and Storage-Volume Changes in the Equus Beds Aquifer
- References Cited
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||USGS Numbered Series|
|Title||Status of groundwater levels and storage volume in the Equus Beds aquifer near Wichita, Kansas, January 2016|
|Series title||Scientific Investigations Report|
|Publisher||U.S. Geological Survey|
|Publisher location||Reston, VA|
|Contributing office(s)||Kansas Water Science Center|
|Description||vi, 15 p.|
|Online Only (Y/N)||Y|