Central Kansas sees water levels rise, Ogallala declines

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HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Central Kansas farmers are shutting down their wells more often as two aquifers saw water levels rise from last year’s timely rains.

The Hutchinson News reports the Kansas Geological Survey released data on aquifer levels this week. The state collects the data annually in early January to monitor the health of the multi-state High Plains Aquifer, which comprises three smaller aquifers in Kansas.

The Great Bend Prairie Aquifer rose more than half a foot, while the Equus Beds Aquifer rose an average more than 2 feet. The increases come after a multiyear drought that lowered water levels in 2011 and 2012.

The Ogallala Aquifer in western Kansas continues to shrink, a trend that has continued for the past 70 to 80 years. Water-data manager Brownie Wilson says water levels in that aquifer have fallen an average 40 feet since 1996.

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