The Ozark Aquifer is an important water supply source for cities, rural water districts,
agriculture, and industry in southeast Kansas, southwest Missouri, and northeast Oklahoma.
Water supply wells in some areas of the aquifer have experienced water level declines in recent years.
With a growing demand for water within the region, concerns about future water availability prompted by
water-level declines and water-quality degradation, have created a need
to better understand this valuable resource in order to better address its long-term management.
TRI-STATE MODEL AREA
To address water supply and quality issues, the U.S. Geological Survey initiated a
multi-year study in August 2005 in cooperation with the efforts of the state water agencies
in the Tri-State area (Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri). A model was developed that
simulated groundwater flow within the Ozark and Springfield Plateau aquifers and included
interaction between ground and surface water. The model allows resource managers to
simulate the effect of additional groundwater withdrawals and provide valuable water
The study also assessed the water-quality conditions in the Ozark aquifer and provided
information on vertical variability of water quality within the aquifer near Pittsburg, Kansas,
where brackish water intrusion is a concern.
In the spring of 2006, the depth to water was measured in over 200 wells throughout the Tri-State
region. This information was used to construct the most detailed regional water level map
of the Ozark Aquifer to date. This and other data such as water use needed to construct the
regional groundwater flow model were compiled.
The Ozark Aquifer Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) comprising representatives from the three
state water agencies, the USGS, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), and local
representatives, Pete Rauch (city of Monett, Missouri) and Bob Kirby
(Kansas Rural Water Association), met by phone quarterly to discuss the progress of the study.
Three public meetings were held to provide area residents with
information about the progress and results of the study.
This study was co-funded by the U.S. Geological Survey and the State of Kansas.
The groundwater model and water-quality study reports were published and the study concluded in August 2009.