Characteristics and transport of sediment in the Little Arkansas River basin in south-central Kansas were studied to determine if the water from the river could be used as a supplemental source for municipal supply or would provide adequate recharge to aquifers that are sources of municipal and agricultural water supplies. During periods when overland 1low contributed a significant amount to streamflow, the suspended sediment in the Little Arkansas River at Valley Center averaged about 85 percent of clay, about 13 percent of silt, and about 2 percent of sand. The average annual suspended-sediment discharge for the water years 1958, 1959, 1960, and 1961 was about 306,000 tons, and about 80 percent of the load was transported during 133 days of the 1,461-day period. The average daily water discharge of 352 cubic feet per second for the period 1958-61 was more than the long-term (i}9-year) average of 245 cfs; therefore, the average annual sediment load for 1958-61 was probably greater than the average annual load for the same long-term period.
Studies of seepage in a part of the channel of Kisiwa Creek indicated that an upstream gravel-pit operation yielded clays which, when deposited in the channel, reduced seepage. A change in plant operation and subsequent runoff that removed the deposited clays restored natural seepage conditions. Experiments by the Wichita Water Department showed that artificial recharge probably cannot be accomplished by using raw turbid water that is injected into wells or by using pits. Recharge by raw turbid water on large permeable areas or by seepage canals may be feasible.
Studies of chemical quality of surface water at several sites in the Little Arkansas River basin indicate that Turkey. Creek is a major contributor of chloride and other dissolved solids to the Little Arkansas River and that the dissolved-solids content is probably highest during low-flow periods when suspended-sediment concentration is low. Data collected by the Wichita Water Department indicate that chloride concentrations are diminishing with time at sampled locations. and they receive recharge from rainwater and snowmelt moving through overlying alluvium and from storage in the De Chelly sandstone which encloses the east half of the diatreme.
The quality of water from all areas is suitable for domestic use. However, special treatment may be necessary to make the water suitable for pulp processing.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Fluvial sediment in the little Arkansas River basin, Kansas
Water Supply Paper
U.S. Geological Survey ;
v, 30 p. :ill., maps, diagrs. (1 fold in pocket) ;24 cm.