Oklahoma Water Resources Board the Water Agency
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Planning & Management Division

The Planning and Management Division administers permitting programs for use of the state's surface waters and groundwaters and cooperates with various agencies and organizations in technical studies to determine the amount of water available in Oklahoma's stream and groundwater basins.

To ensure the fair apportionment and future conservation of Oklahoma's abundant water resources, the OWRB directs separate, though closely related, programs that provide critical information on existing surface and groundwater supplies. This multi-faceted monitoring network also provides real-time data to enhance and complement Oklahoma's existing flood forecasting and warning capabilities; guides operation of state lakes and reservoirs; contributes vital information to the state's drought monitoring and response efforts; and facilitates agreement in interstate stream compacts.

To help ensure that future water supplies are available and used wisely, Planning and Management participates in various planning activities, including maintenance of the Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan and promotion of its associated recommendations.

Permitting Section

Appropriation of stream and groundwaters in Oklahoma, overseen by the OWRB's Permitting Section, is the foundation of the state’s water management activities. Each year, permitting staff help fulfill the individual water needs of Oklahomans through the processing of hundreds of water use permit applications, which are considered for approval by the nine-member Water Board or Executive Director (in the case of 90-day provisional temporary and “limited quantity” permits). Staff administer and maintain approximately 12,000 stream and groundwater use permits on file at the agency and provide annual reports of water use.

Technical Studies Section

As demands for state waters approach supplies available in individual stream systems and groundwater basins, it becomes increasingly important to accurately determine amounts of water available for appropriation to current and future users. Fulfilling this requirement, staff of the Board's Technical Section routinely conduct and update studies of the state's 49 stream systems and 71 groundwater basins. Results from studies of these defined hydrologic units dictate the amounts of water that may be reasonably withdrawn while generally reserving supplies for future use. Technical staff also cooperate on a variety of water resource studies and monitoring programs in cooperation with federal and other state agencies, organizations and local governments. The section also licenses pump installers and drillers of water, geothermal, observation and monitoring wells in Oklahoma.

Planning Section

The OWRB is the state agency specifically authorized to plan for and encourage the use of water resources in a manner that will best serve the many needs of the people of Oklahoma. Recognizing that planning is an extremely dynamic process, staff of the OWRB's Planning Section are continually challenged by changing social, political, economic and environmental issues. The Board's planning programs are funded through a variety of sources, primarily legislative appropriations, while the agency routinely participates in cooperative planning studies with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, Natural Resources Conservation Service and U.S. Geological Survey.

The Planning Section also coordinates state floodplain management and flood hazard mitigation activities; maintains a database of more than 700 Oklahoma rural water systems; administers a state dam safety program; coordinates the agency's drought monitoring activities; directs a leak detection program to fund small water system improvements; supports state activities in four interstate stream compacts; and directs Oklahoma's weather modification activities.


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Page last updated: December 03, 2013

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