LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Kansans used less water in 1995 than in 1990 for public supplies, irrigation, and industrial purposes, even as overall population increased. Meanwhile, more water was used for livestock during 1995.
A newly released fact sheet, prepared by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in cooperation with the Kansas Water Office (KWO) and funded in part through the State Water Plan Fund, examines population and water-use data for 1990 and 1995 and offers explanations for variations among uses, years, and areas of the state. Withdrawals from ground and surface sources are illustrated for the largest categories of use in Kansas -- public supply, irrigation, industrial and mining, livestock, and thermoelectric power generation. Comparative data are presented for each of 12 major river basins to illustrate differences in population distribution, water-supply availability, and degree of industrial and agricultural activities in Kansas.
Public-supply water use represents about 9 percent of total annual nonpower-related withdrawals in Kansas. Groundwater is the predominant source of public supply in the six western basins; surface water is the predominant source in the six eastern Kansas basins. Public-supply usage is largest in the most populated basins in the northeast and south-central parts of the state. In the Kansas-Lower Republican and Missouri Basins (including the Topeka, Lawrence, and Kansas City areas), increases in public-supply water use between 1990 and 1995 are coincident with population growth. Increased surface-water withdrawals from the Missouri River reflect larger populations served in Johnson County. In the Lower Arkansas Basin (including Wichita), less public-supply usage in 1995 is attributable to decreases in amounts of groundwater pumped from the Equus Beds aquifer north of Wichita. Decreased demands for public supplies in 1995 as compared to 1990 in the Lower Arkansas Basin, as well as in the western Kansas basins, are due primarily to differences in weather; warmer, drier summers led to increased demand in 1990.
About 87 percent of total annual nonpower-related withdrawals in Kansas are for irrigation. Most irrigation use is from groundwater sources in the western part of the state, which is underlain by the High Plains aquifer. All basins where irrigation is a significant use of water showed less use in 1995 than in 1990. About 21 percent less groundwater was used for irrigation in 1995 than in 1990, when drier weather prevailed. Statewide, about 15 percent more surface water was used for irrigation in 1995 than in 1990.
Livestock use represents about 2 percent of total annual nonpower-related withdrawals in Kansas. In 9 of the 12 river basins in Kansas, more water was used for livestock in 1995 than in 1990. The largest quantities of livestock water are withdrawn in southwest Kansas, where confined animal-feeding operations have become more prevalent.
Copies of USGS Fact Sheet FS-090-99 describing "Water use in Kansas, 1990 and
1995," by Joan F. Kenny are available from the U.S.
Geological Survey, 4821 Quail Crest Place, Lawrence, Kansas, 66049-3839. The
fact sheet is also available on the Internet at:
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