Groundwater report shows continued decline

? Farmers continue pumping more water from the state’s aquifers than can be replenished through rain and snow, the Kansas Geological Survey said Wednesday.

The Geological Survey, based at Kansas University, measured more than 1,100 wells in central and western Kansas as part of its annual review.

The measurements are taken in January after the irrigation season has ended and water levels have stabilized, but winter storms left geologists unable to reach about 305 wells this year.

“The weather delay and missed wells may have some influence on the water level comparisons between 2005 and 2006, so we’re going out again in early April to try to fill in the holes within our coverage area,” said Brownie Wilson, water data manager at the agency.

While water levels continued a trend of decline in western Kansas, the water levels in central Kansas saw renewed decline after holding steady just the year before.

From January 2006 to January 2007, preliminary data shows the water level declined 0.94 feet in western Kansas, 2.17 feet in the Equus Beds area north of Wichita, 1.29 feet in the Big Bend region of central Kansas, about 0.21 feet in northwestern Kansas, 0.42 feet in west-central Kansas, and 2.18 feet in southwestern Kansas.