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Channel infiltration from floodflows along the Pawnee River and its tributaries, west-central Kansas

January 1, 1994

Most of the streams is west-central Kansas are ephemeral. Natural recharge to the alluvial aquifers underlying these streams occurs during periods of storm runoff in the ephemeral channels. Proposed flood-retarding structures within the basin will alter the downstream runoff characteristics in these channels by reducing the peak flow and increasing the flow duration. Information concerning channel-infiltration rate, unsaturated and saturated flow, and lithology of the unsaturated zone as related to stream stage and duration was collected along the Pawnee River and its tributaries to determine the effects of the flood-retarding structures. The infiltration rate on ephemeral streams was determined at five sites within the Pawnee River Basin. Tests were conducted in channel infiltrometers constructed by isolating a section of channel with two plastic-lined wooden cofferdams. At two of the sites, perched groundwater mounds intersected the bottom of the channel and reduced the infiltration rate. At two other sites where the perched groundwater mounds did not reach the bottom of the channel, the infiltration rate was directly proportional to the stage. Comparison of infiltration from simulated controlled and uncontrolled floodflows at the five sites indicated an average increase of about 2% with the controlled floodflow. Cumulative infiltration for these simulations ranged from 0.5 to 14.8 acre-ft/mi of channel. (USGS)

Citation Information

Publication Year 1988
Title Channel infiltration from floodflows along the Pawnee River and its tributaries, west-central Kansas
DOI 10.3133/wri884055
Authors James B. Gillespie, C. A. Perry
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series Number 88-4055
Index ID wri884055
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization