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Archive for Monday, January 15, 2001

S WATER STORY

January 15, 2001

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l In parts of southwestern and western Kansas, irrigators are pumping water at rates from three to four times the area's ability to recharge.

l Within the Kansas High Plains -- an area defined by its dependence on the Ogallala, Great Bend and Equus Beds aquifers -- groundwater accounts for 99 percent of the region's water supply. Irrigation accounts for 95 percent of the usage.

l In southwestern Kansas, more than 99 percent of the rainfall in 14 counties evaporates before reaching the region's aquifer. The western half of the state loses 95 percent of its rainfall to evaporation.

l Groundwater declines are most dramatic in the Upper Arkansas, Cimarron and Smoky Hill river basins, where irrigation has lowered the region's water table, causing significant reductions in streamflows.

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