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GroMoPo Metadata for Middle Arkansas River Subbasin model

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Created: Apr 13, 2023 at 2:51 p.m.
Last updated: Apr 13, 2023 at 2:52 p.m.
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Numerical Model of the Middle Arkansas River Subbasin

Subject Keywords



Coordinate System/Geographic Projection:
WGS 84 EPSG:4326
Coordinate Units:
Decimal degrees
Place/Area Name:
United States
North Latitude
East Longitude
South Latitude
West Longitude


Additional Metadata

Name Value
Depth N/A
Scale < 10 000 km²
Layers 1 layer
Purpose groundwater resources, scientific investigation, streamflow depletion, decision support
GroMoPo_ID 2050
IsVerified True
Model Code MODFLOW
Model Link
Model Time 1940, 2004
Model Year 2006
Creator Email
Model Country United States
Data Available report/paper only;I thought IO were available, but the state website is currently down, so not sure
Developer Email N/A
Dominant Geology unconsolidated
Developer Country USA
Publication Title Numerical Model of the Middle Arkansas River Subbasin
Original Developer No
Additional Information EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Ground-water levels have been declining during the last few decades in most of the High Plains aquifer in the Middle Arkansas River subbasin, which extends from the Ford-Edwards county line to the confluence with Rattlesnake Creek in southwest Rice County. The water-level declines have decreased ground-water discharge to the Arkansas River, thereby causing declining streamflow. Smaller stream inflows to the subbasin, especially from the Arkansas River, have also decreased streamflow during this period. In response to these declines, the Division of Water Resources of the Kansas Department of Agriculture (DWR) and the Kansas Water Office (KWO) requested that the Kansas Geological Survey develop a calibrated groundwater flow model to provide additional information on the nature of stream-aquifer interactions and the effect of ground-water pumpage for use in planning and management of water resources in the Middle Arkansas subbasin. A numerical model was constructed for an area extending from northeast Ford County through much of Edwards and Pawnee counties to north-central Stafford and southern Barton counties. The DWR and KWO formed a Technical Advisory Committee to oversee the project. The major focus of the project was the development of a calibrated transient model that simulated ground-water flow and stream-aquifer interactions during the period 1944-2004. The model included 6,209 active model cells, each a quarter-mile square, covering 1,552 square miles, and incorporated six recharge zones and two hydraulic conductivity zones. Calibration was accomplished using observed ground-water levels across the model area for 1980, 1990, and 2000, hydrographs for 26 wells with long-term water-level records, and annual streamflows at the stream gaging stations on the Arkansas River near Kinsley, Larned, and at Great Bend. The parameter estimation program PEST was employed to optimize parameters during the calibration process. The average net pumping (ground-water pumped minus recharge from irrigation water seepage) increased from 14,060 acre-ft/yr for the first 30 years of the model (1944-1973) to 173,040 acre-ft/yr for the last 15 years (1990-2004). Pumpage for 1990-2003 was from wateruse records, and for other years was estimated from regression equations for total and irrigation pumpage based on annual reported water use, authorized quantity, and precipitation from 1990 to 2003. The percentage of irrigation return recharge was calculated for each year for three different zones in the active model area based on data for changes in irrigation type. Results from the calibrated model indicated that the average long-term recharge from areal precipitation for the model area during 1944-2004 was 1.81 in/yr. The model indicated that storage declined substantially in the High Plains aquifer starting in the late 1970s that was accompanied by a decrease in streamflow and also a reduction in ground-water flow out of the subbasin. By 2004, the cumulative loss in aquifer storage reached about 1,500,000 acre-ft. The net streamflow gain (baseflow minus stream leakage) in the subbasin decreased from an annual average of 35,530 acre-ft/yr during 1944-1973 to 6,530 acre-ft/yr during 1990-2004, even though the average precipitation recharge for 1990-2004 (2.31 in/yr) was greater than for 1944-1973 (1.78 in/yr). Five different scenarios were simulated with the calibrated transient model. One scenario involved running the model for 1944-2004 using increased stream inflows during 1980-2004. Two cases were simulated for this scenario using inflow increases of 6.8% and 83% relative to the 1980-2004 inflows. The results of this scenario indicated that much of a small increase in stream inflow recharges the aquifer, but most of a large increase in stream inflow passes through the subbasin. For either case, the increased stream recharge reduced the storage decline in the aquifer by <10%. The other four scenarios involved simulations of future conditions (50-year period 2005-2054) using different pumping strategies under the climatic conditions of 1980-2004 (repeated twice). A scenario with continued pumping at current levels indicated that ground-water levels continue to decline, causing further decreases in streamflow and lateral outflow of ground water. In this scenario, the cumulative loss in aquifer storage that began in the late 1970s sums to about an additional 1,500,000 acre-ft for 2005 to 2054. The decrease in lateral ground-water outflow decreases the ground-water inflow to the Rattlesnake Creek subbasin that borders the southeast side of the Middle Arkansas subbasin. A scenario in which there was no pumping showed that the long-term water-level declines in the main aquifer that began in the late 1970s start to reverse within a few years after the wells are shut off. The change from streamflow loss to increase takes a few years longer to respond due to the need to raise water levels enough to create substantial baseflow and reduce stream loss. Most of the aquifer storage lost from the late 1970s to 2004 is regained after about 20 years. Two reduced pumping scenarios were run, one with a 24% reduction of pumping in the proposed area for the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) in the subbasin (equivalent to an average annual decrease in net pumping of 25,287 acre-ft/yr or a 14.5% reduction over the model area compared to continued pumping during 2005-2054), and the other with the retirement of water rights in the Circle K Ranch in southwest Edwards County (equivalent to an average decrease of 5,805 acre-ft/yr in net pumping or 6,413 acre-ft/yr pumping after adjustment for irrigation return recharge compared to continued pumping during 2015-2054 when all water rights are retired). Although the losses in aquifer storage, streamflow, and lateral ground-water outflow were not as great in the CREP as in the continued pumping scenario, those losses continued during the 2005-2054 simulation. Retiring the Circle K Ranch water rights decreases the rate of aquifer storage loss and increases the average flow of the Arkansas River, but only to a limited extent in the general vicinity of the Ranch.
Integration or Coupling None of the above, Surface water was included using the STR package for MODFLOW.
Evaluation or Calibration dynamic water levels, baseflow
Geologic Data Availability N/A

How to Cite

GroMoPo, S. Zipper (2023). GroMoPo Metadata for Middle Arkansas River Subbasin model, HydroShare,

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