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USGS Surface-Water Data for Kansas

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*** The Kansas Water Science Center has transitioned to a new data management software package. While you may not have noticed this transition, some sites may have problems or delays in being updated. We are actively monitoring these conditions and are resolving them as quickly as possible. See the Dec 8 news entry for more information at: https://help.waterdata.usgs.gov/news
Historic (pre-2007) gage-height data may contain erroneous values, such as pressure sensors encased in ice, even if they are flagged as approved. These data are made available to the public, but data users are cautioned to carefully screen the data and contact the USGS Kansas Water Science Center if they have questions or concerns about specific values.

** During winter months the realtime streamflow displayed may not reflect the true discharge for periods when ice forms in the stream. When ice forms, the river cross-section is constricted and produces a higher river stage for any given amount of discharge that exists during ice-free periods. This condition is known as backwater. Although accurate themselves, the river stages can no longer be used to accurately and directly compute discharge from the rating curve (which relates stage to discharge) because the amount of backwater varies with time, temperature, and other factors. More complex procedures that require the use of meteorological and hydrological data from other stations in the area must be used to determine discharge at the affected stations. Unfortunately, these more complex procedures cannot yet be applied in real time. Additional, ice forming in the channel can result in erroneous readings as the instrumentation in the stream is adversely affected by the ice generally resulting in an erroneously higher stage reading. While every attempt is made to screen erroneous data from the realtime display, this data is considered provisional and should be used with caution.

(217 sites)

Current conditions at selected sites based on the most recent data from on-site automated recording equipment. Measurements are commonly recorded at a fixed interval of 15- to 60-minutes and transmitted to the USGS every hour. Values may include "Approved" (quality-assured data that may be published) and/or more recent "Provisional" data (of unverified accuracy and subject to revision). Most current data are provisional.

(241 sites)

The same data accessed by the Current Conditions link above but including both active and discontinued sites with data for any part of the period October 1, 2007, through the present. Values may include "Approved" (quality-assured data that may be published) and/or more recent "Provisional" data (of unverified accuracy and subject to revision).

(390 sites)

Summary of all data for each day for the period of record and may represent the daily mean, median, maximum, minimum, and/or other derived value. Values may include "Approved" (quality-assured data that may be published) and/or more recent "Provisional" data (of unverified accuracy and subject to revision). Example.

(387 sites)

Statistics are computed from approved daily mean data at each site. These links provide summaries of approved historical daily values for daily, monthly, and annual (water year or calendar year) time periods.

(453 sites)

Annual maximum instantaneous peak streamflow and gage height

(699 sites)

Manual measurements of streamflow and gage height. These measurements are used to supplement and (or) verify the accuracy of the automatically recorded observations, as well as to compute streamflow based on gage height.


The U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) National Water Information System (NWIS) is a comprehensive and distributed application that supports the acquisition, processing, and long-term storage of water data. Water Data for the Nation serves as the publicly available portal to a geographically seamless set of much of the water data maintained within NWIS (additional background).

Nationally, USGS surface-water data includes more than 850,000 station years of time-series data that describe stream levels, streamflow (discharge), reservoir and lake levels, surface-water quality, and rainfall. The data are collected by automatic recorders and manual field measurements at installations across the Nation.

Data are collected by field personnel or relayed through telephones or satellites to offices where it is stored and processed. The data relayed through the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) system are processed automatically in near real time, and in many cases, current data are available online within minutes.

Once a complete day of readings are received from a site, daily summary data are generated and made available online. USGS finalizes data at individual sites on a continuous basis as environmental conditions and hydrologic characteristics permit.

Tutorial explaining how to perform a surface water retrieval and understand the results