Where does our water come from?

A Tale of Two States

The average amount of water each person uses per day is about 2.5 times greater in western Kansas (274 gallons) than in eastern Kansas (98 gallons). Water use tends to increase from east to west because of differences in precipitation. Climate is significant factors in this variability, with semi-arid conditions, low precipitation and limited surface water in western Kansas.

About 95 percent of Kansans depend on water provided by public suppliers such as cities, towns, rural water districts or mobile-home parks. Currently, around 60 percent of this water is obtained from streams, reservoirs and lakes; the remainder is groundwater such as found in underground aquifers.

The largest of these aquifers is the High Plains Aquifer which lies beneath eight states, going as far north as South Dakota and as far south as Texas. However, frighteningly, some of the world’s aquifers – including the High Plains Aquifer – could be declining at a rapid rate in many areas.



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