Some areas of Kansas may deplete the High Plains aquifer within 25 years under current usage rates, according to a newly published book by the Kansas Geological Survey.
In his State of the State address on Monday, Gov. Bill Graves called for a deadline of 2020 to reach zero depletion of the High Plains aquifer.
Zero depletion means no more water is taken from the aquifer than goes back in through rainfall and streamflow.
A new atlas of maps by the Geological Survey shows that current high-volume pumping of the aquifer could deplete the groundwater source in some areas of western Kansas within 25 years.
Those include parts of Greeley, Wichita and Scott counties of west-central Kansas, parts of Stanton, Grant, Gary and Ford counties in southwestern Kansas, and parts of Thomas and Sheridan counties in northwestern Kansas.
The atlas was edited by Geological Survey water specialists Jeffrey Schloss and Robert Buddemeier, and Blake Wilson of the Kansas Water Office.
"People need to understand that these maps are projections based on the way we used water during the 1980s and the 1990s," Buddemeier said.
"The future use of the water will be strongly influenced by energy prices, commodity prices and many other factors, all of which will determine the amount of water used and the life of the aquifer," he added.
Copies of the book are available for $15, plus $4 postage and handling, from the Kansas Geological Survey, 1930 Constant Ave., Lawrence 66047, (785) 864-3965, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Kansas residents should add 6.9 percent sales tax on the entire amount of the order. Many of the same maps also can be viewed online on the survey's Web site at www.kgs.ukans.edu.