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Scientific Investigations Report 2012–5059

Prepared in cooperation with the City of Wichita, Kansas

Determination of Streamflow of the Arkansas River near Bentley in South-Central Kansas

By Charles A. Perry

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (1.56 MB)Abstract

The Kansas Department of Agriculture, Division of Water Resources, requires that the streamflow of the Arkansas River just upstream from Bentley in south-central Kansas be measured or calculated before groundwater can be pumped from the well field. When the daily streamflow of the Arkansas River near Bentley is less than 165 cubic feet per second (ft3/s), pumping must be curtailed. Daily streamflow near Bentley was calculated by determining the relations between streamflow data from two reference streamgages with a concurrent record of 24 years, one located 17.2 miles (mi) upstream and one located 10.9 mi downstream, and streamflow at a temporary gage located just upstream from Bentley (Arkansas River near Bentley, Kansas). Flow-duration curves for the two reference streamgages indicate that during 1988–2011, the mean daily streamflow was less than 165 ft3/s 30 to 35 percent of the time. During extreme low-flow (drought) conditions, the reach of the Arkansas River between Hutchinson and Maize can lose flow to the adjacent alluvial aquifer, with streamflow losses as much as 1.6 cubic feet per second per mile.

Three models were developed to calculate the streamflow of the Arkansas River near Bentley, Kansas. The model chosen depends on the data available and on whether the reach of the Arkansas River between Hutchinson and Maize is gaining or losing groundwater from or to the adjacent alluvial aquifer. The first model was a pair of equations developed from linear regressions of the relation between daily streamflow data from the Bentley streamgage and daily streamflow data from either the Arkansas River near Hutchinson, Kansas, station (station number 07143330) or the Arkansas River near Maize, Kansas, station (station number 07143375). The standard error of the Hutchinson-only equation was 22.8 ft3/s, and the standard error of the Maize-only equation was 22.3 ft3/s. The single-station model would be used if only one streamgage was available. In the second model, the flow gradient between the streamflow near Hutchinson and the streamflow near Maize was used to calculate the streamflow at the Bentley streamgage. This equation resulted in a standard error of 26.7 ft3/s. In the third model, a multiple regression analysis between both the daily streamflow of the Arkansas River near Hutchinson, Kansas, and the daily streamflow of the Arkansas River near Maize, Kansas, was used to calculate the streamflow at the Bentley streamgage. The multiple regression equation had a standard error of 21.2 ft3/s, which was the smallest of the standard errors for all the models.

An analysis of the number of low-flow days and the number of days when the reach between Hutchinson and Maize loses flow to the adjacent alluvial aquifer indicates that the long-term trend is toward fewer days of losing conditions. This trend may indicate a long-term increase in water levels in the alluvial aquifer, which could be caused by one or more of several conditions, including an increase in rainfall, a decrease in pumping, a decrease in temperature, and an increase in streamflow upstream from the Hutchinson-to-Maize reach of the Arkansas River.

First posted April 3, 2012

For additional information contact:
Director, USGS Kansas Water Science Center
4821 Quail Crest Place
Lawrence, KS 66049
http://ks.water.usgs.gov

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Suggested citation:

Perry, C.A., 2012, Determination of streamflow of the Arkansas River near Bentley in south-central Kansas: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2012–5059, 7 p.



Contents

Abstract

Introduction

Arkansas River Streamgages

Concurrent Streamflow at Streamgages near Maize, Bentley, and Hutchinson

Comparison of Streamflow at Streamgages

Calculation of Streamflow at Bentley

Summary

References Cited


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