Oklahoma Water Resources Board the Water Agency

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.

Water Use Permitting

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

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 Results from studies of these defined hydrologic units dictate the amounts of water that may be reasonably withdrawn while generally reserving supplies for future use.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.


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. This is currently being accomplished through implementation of Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan recommendations. 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.

Hazard Mitigation

The Planning Section also coordinates state floodplain management and flood hazard mitigation activities, administers a state dam safety program, and coordinates the well driller and pump installer licensing program.

Visit www.ok.gov, the Oklahoma State Portal
SoonerSearch is a service of the Oklahoma Department of Libraries and OK.GOV
©1998-2015, Oklahoma Water Resources Board
Page last updated: October 06, 2014

This site has been redesigned using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). If you are seeing this message you are using an older browser which lacks support for CSS. Please upgrade your browser to the latest version of Internet Explorer, Netscape or other CSS compatible browser to view this page properly.