A new study forecasts that 69 percent of the water in the High Plains Aquifer in Kansas will be depleted within 50 years at current usage rates.
The paper by researchers at Kansas State University was published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. It focuses on the Ogallala aquifer in western Kansas.
The study estimates that 30 percent of the aquifer was depleted by 2010 and an additional 39 percent is expected to disappear by 2060.
City of Wichita officials announced Friday the drought that threatened the area’s water supply the two past summers and heightened conservation efforts is officially over.
In a release Friday, the city reports Cheney Lake, the city’s primary water source, reached full capacity in the early hours of Thursday from 73.6 percent on July 29. Earlier this year, the lake was as low as 58 percent capacity, causing city officials to encourage conservation efforts through a media campaign, a rebate program and other measures aimed at extending the area’s water supply.
There was a significant development this weekend with water levels at Cheney Reservoir.
Last Thursday's storm created heavy drainage into the lake, causing the level to rise from 64 percent last Thursday to 72 percent on Saturday. As of Monday morning, Cheney is up more than 13,000 acre feet of water since before the rain event last Thursday.
Because two years of drought have lowered water levels at Cheney Reservoir, Wichita officials are thinking about bringing back water restrictions.
Wichita hasn't placed water restrictions on residents since the early 1990s. However, the continued drought has lowered water levels at Cheney reservoir by 40 percent. Wichita has been drawing up to 75 percent of its water from Cheney Reservoir since 1993. The rest comes from groundwater north of the city.