Kansas lies within the drainage basin of the Mississippi-Missouri river system. The chief streams in the state are the Kansas River (sometimes called the Kaw) which is a tributary of the Missouri River, and the Arkansas River, which is a major tributary of the Mississippi.
The Kansas River, together with its headstreams and tributaries, drains most of the northern half of the state and flows generally eastward to enter the Missouri River at the adjoining cities of Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri. Its chief headstreams are the Republican and Smoky Hill rivers, which join to form the Kansas River at Junction City. Each of the headstreams has numerous tributaries. The Kansas River proper is only 270 km (170 mi) long, but the Smoky Hill River has a length of 870 km (540 mi), and the Republican River has a length of 720 km (450 mi). The main tributary flowing into the Kansas River is the Big Blue River.
The Arkansas River, which rises in Colorado, flows generally eastward and then southward across the southern half of Kansas. Between Dodge City and Wichita the river curves northward in a wide loop, which is known as the Great Bend of the Arkansas River. A small section of the Cimarron River, a major tributary of the Arkansas, arcs through the southwestern corner of the state. Southeastern Kansas is drained mainly by the Verdigris and Neosho, which flow southward to join the Arkansas River in Oklahoma.
There are no large natural lakes in Kansas. The largest bodies of water have been created by the damming of rivers. The largest is Tuttle Creek Lake, a long winding reservoir behind Tuttle Creek Dam on the Big Blue River. Other major bodies of water include Cedar Bluff and Kanopolis on the Smoky Hill River; Milford on the Republican; Lovewell on White Rock Creek and Keith Sebelius on Prairie Dog Creek, both tributaries of the Republican; Wilson on the Saline River; Cheney on the North Fork of the Ninnescah; John Redmond and Council Grove on the Neosho; ; Toronto on the Verdigris; Waconda on the Solomon, and Webster and Kirwin on the forks of the Solomon; Perry on the Delaware; Clinton on the Wakarusa; Marion on the Cottonwood; Pomona, Melvern, and Hillsdale on the Marais des Cygnes system; and Fall River Lake, a reservoir on the river of that name. "Kansas" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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