Water Resources in the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal Jurisdictional Area, West-Central Oklahoma, With an Analysis of Data Gaps Through 2015

Scientific Investigations Report 2020-5105
Prepared in cooperation with the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma and the Bureau of Indian Affairs
By:  and 

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Abstract

This report provides an overview of existing hydrologic information describing the quality, quantity, and extent of the major surface-water and groundwater resources in the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal jurisdictional area, west-central Oklahoma. Hydrologic information is provided for five major river systems (Cimarron River, North Canadian River, Canadian River, Washita River, and North Fork Red River), two reservoirs (Foss Reservoir and Canton Lake), and eight aquifers consisting of the alluvial aquifers associated with each of the five major river systems and three major bedrock aquifers (Ogallala aquifer, Elk City aquifer, and Rush Springs aquifer).

Types of information provided about rivers and reservoirs for the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal jurisdictional area include diversion sites and amounts of water allocated and diverted for permitted uses in 2015; treated wastewater discharge sites and amounts discharged in 2015; and characteristics describing water-quality field properties, major ions, nutrients, and selected trace elements. Major ions, nutrients, and selected trace elements are compared to secondary maximum contaminant levels and maximum contaminant levels for finished drinking water. Additionally, statistics are provided describing daily, monthly, and annual streamflow characteristics at 12 U.S. Geological Survey streamgages. Streamflow statistics include the magnitudes and frequencies of floods, base-flow characteristics, and long-term streamflow trends.

Types of information provided about the aquifers include amounts of water allocated and pumped for permitted uses in 2015; characteristics of groundwater describing water-quality field properties, major ions, nitrate (measured as nitrogen), and selected trace elements with comparisons to secondary maximum contaminant levels and maximum contaminant levels for finished drinking water; groundwater levels and long-term changes in water levels; and ranges of hydraulic conductivity, aquifer recharge, specific yield, transmissivity, and well yields from reports and groundwater-flow models.

Surface water is used primarily for irrigation and mining and other nonconsumptive uses in the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal jurisdictional area, except from the Washita and North Fork Red Rivers, where water is treated for use as a public-water supply. Large concentrations of dissolved solids are the primary limiting factor affecting the use of surface water. Median concentrations of dissolved solids in surface water range from less than 1,000 milligrams per liter (mg/L) in samples from the North Canadian River to greater than 9,000 mg/L in samples from the Cimarron River. Large dissolved solids concentrations are correlated with hard water. Median hardness as calcium carbonate concentrations in surface water ranges from 427 mg/L in samples from Canton Lake to 1,000 mg/L in samples from the Washita River.

In 2015, groundwater was used at more than twice the rate of surface water in the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal jurisdictional area. Although the alluvial aquifers are considered reliably good sources of water in the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal jurisdictional area, concentrations of nitrate (measured as nitrogen) exceed the maximum contaminant level of 10 mg/L established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for finished drinking water in parts of all of the alluvial aquifers. Water from the three major bedrock aquifers is used for irrigation, mining, public-water supply, and other uses; however, large concentrations of dissolved solids, nitrate (measured as nitrogen), and naturally occurring trace elements such as arsenic and uranium may limit the use of groundwater as a source of public-water supply in some areas. As of 2015, the depletion of groundwater from the major aquifers in west-central Oklahoma is a minor concern to the Oklahoma Water Resources Board. Groundwater levels and other hydrologic information show that recharge rates exceed the rates of water pumped from aquifers, except in areas that may be affected locally by groundwater depletions.

Suggested Citation

Becker, C.J., and Varonka, M.S., 2020, Water resources in the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal jurisdictional area, west-central Oklahoma, with an analysis of data gaps through 2015: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2020–5105, 158 p., 1 app., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20205105.

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Quality Assurance
  • Surface-Water Resources
  • Groundwater Resources
  • Conclusions and Data Gap Discussion
  • Summary
  • References Cited
  • Appendix 1. Statistics describing daily, monthly, and annual streamflow characteristics at 12 U.S. Geological Survey streamgages on the Cimarron, North Canadian, Canadian, Washita, and North Fork Red Rivers, Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal jurisdictional area, west-central Oklahoma

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Water resources in the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal jurisdictional area, west-central Oklahoma, with an analysis of data gaps through 2015
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2020-5105
DOI 10.3133/sir20205105
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Oklahoma-Texas Water Science Center
Description xi, 158 p.
Country United States
State Oklahoma
Other Geospatial Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal Jurisdictional Area
Online Only (Y/N) Y
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