Schematic of the artificial recharge process
The water supply for the city of Wichita, south-central Kansas, currently comes from the Equus Beds aquifer and Cheney Reservoir.
Because these sources are not expected to meet projected city water needs into the 21st century (Warren and others, 1995),
artificial recharge of the Equus Beds aquifer was investigated as one alternative to meet future water-supply demands. An
additional potential benefit of artificial recharge includes preventing degradation of the water quality of the aquifer by saltwater
plumes from the Arkansas River to the southwest and the Burrton oil field to the northwest (Ziegler and others, 1999).
Phase I of the full-scale artificial recharge project began in 2007 and continued through 2012. For Phase I, the water pumped directly
from the Little Arkansas River is treated to reduce sediment and remove atrazine before being recharged to the aquifer through recharge
basins; water pumped from wells in the riverbank does not receive additional treatment before being recharged to the aquifer through
recharge basins or wells (Debra Ary, city of Wichita, written commun., 2012). Phase II recharge facilities withdraw water from the
Little Arkansas River and treat the water using ultrafiltration membranes and advanced oxidation techniques. The treated water can then
be recharged into spreading basins or recharge wells throughout the area and stored in the aquifer for future use. Phase I has a design
capacity of 10 Mgal/day. Phase II became operational in April 2013 and has a design capacity of 30 Mgal/day. Total construction costs
for Phase I and II are about $247 million.
Map of Operations for Equus Beds Groundwater Recharge Project
Links to the City of Wichita Aquifer Storage and Recovery Program:
For additional information, please write or call:
U.S. Geological Survey
Kansas Water Science Center
4821 Quail Crest Place
Lawrence, KS 66049-3839
Telephone: (785) 832-3539
Fax: (785) 832-3500