USGS - science for a changing world

Kansas Water Science Center

Jump to content

Jump back to navigation
Contact Information:
Jennifer Graham
U.S. Geological Survey
4821 Quail Crest Place
Lawrence, Kansas 66049
This project is conducted in cooperation with:
City of Wichita

Cheney Reservoir and Watershed Water-Quality Studies

Period of Project: 1996-present

Study Overview

Cheney Reservoir, located on the North Fork Ninnescah River in south-central Kansas, is the primary water supply for the city of Wichita and an important recreational resource. Cyanobacteria-related taste-and-odor episodes in Cheney Reservoir during the early 1990’s prompted water-quality studies with the goal of understanding and improving water quality. The U.S. Geological Survey began cooperative studies of the Cheney Reservoir watershed with the city of Wichita in 1996. Initial studies (1996-1997) determined sub-basin sources of contaminants. Later studies (1998-2002) determined chemical loading into and out of Cheney Reservoir, changes in reservoir sediment quality over time, and watershed sources of phosphorus. More recent (2000-present) and ongoing efforts have focused on real-time estimation of water-quality constituent concentrations and mass transport from the watershed, and the description of in-reservoir conditions that may result in the occurrence of cyanobacterial blooms and associated nuisance compounds. Knowledge gained from these studies has assisted in the development, implementation, maintenance, and assessment of watershed-management goals and plans to maintain Cheney Reservoir as a public-water supply and recreational resource.


  1. Assess the seasonal, annual, and long-term patterns in water-quality conditions, algal community dynamics, and occurrence of taste-and-odor and other algal related by-products in Cheney Reservoir.
  2. Use latest technology in water-quality instrumentation to continuously monitor variability at the inflow and in the reservoir and potentially relate that information to observed algal population dynamics and taste-and-odor episodes.
  3. Determine the links between inflow events and reservoir water quality, including algal dynamics and taste-and-odor episodes.
  4. Determine relations between inflows and in-lake processes (including meteorological, hydrological, physical, chemical, and biological factors) with respect to algal community structure, taste-and-odor compounds (geosmin, MIB), and potential algal toxins such as microcystin.
  5. Provide a long-term data set with which to verify and refine previously determined relations, for both the reservoir and inflow site, between easily monitored water-quality variables and constituents related to the use of Cheney Reservoir as a water-supply source for the City of Wichita.

Photos of Interest

Cheney Reservoir study site.
Cheney Reservoir study site.
The North Fork Ninnescah River above Cheney Reservoir.
The North Fork Ninnescah River above Cheney Reservoir.
Site Map

Related Links

Continuous Data:

Regression estimated concentrations of constituents of interest:

Discrete Data:


2017 2016 2015 2013 2009 2006 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997
USGS Home Water Resources Biology Geography Geology Geospatial

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information:
Page Last Modified: 2017-01-09 12:19:53 CST