As the chair agency of the monitoring committee of the state's Drought Management Team, since 1996 the OWRB has issued the Oklahoma Water Resources Bulletin, a regular publication that monitors drought and moisture conditions in Oklahoma. Utilizing data collected from numerous state and federal agencies and organizations, the report includes current information on reservoir storage, streamflow conditions, crop conditions, weather conditions, and related factors. The Bulletin is a key component of the State of Oklahoma's continuous drought monitoring effort.
U.S. Drought Monitor
(National Drought Mitigation Center)
Drought and Water Conservation Information: Water Rationing Report (Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality)
Oklahoma AgWeather (Oklahoma Climatological Survey)
Weekly Crop Progress & Condition Report (National Agricultural Statistics Service)
Contact the OWRB
Primary Drought Links
Current Drought & Wildfire Conditions
(Oklahoma Climatological Survey)
Oklahoma Drought Management Plan
(Oklahoma Drought Management Team)
Daily Report of Reservoir Conditions (Tulsa District/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Water Control Data System)
Forecasts, Outlooks & Indicators
Oklahoma Mesonet Public Products (Oklahoma Climatological Survey)
Weather.gov (National Weather Service)
SPC Forecast Products (Storm Prediction Center)
Seasonal Temperature & Precipitation Outlooks (Climate Prediction Center)
Standardized Precipitation Index (National Climatic Data Center)
Crop Moisture Index (NOAA/USDA Joint Agricultural Weather Facility)
Burning Ban/Red Flag Fire Alert Update (Forestry Services, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, & Forestry)
Drought Impact Reporter
(National Drought Mitigation Center)
An assortment of drought- and weather-related data is available from the Oklahoma Climatolgical Survey, National Weather Service, Climate Prediction Center, Western Regional Climate Center and other organizations. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center offers a suite of short-term forecast products, including mesoscale discussions, convective outlooks and current national weather watches, warnings and advisories.
Numerous drought indices have been developed to provide advanced drought monitoring and assessment information for various purposes. In tandem, these indices not only paint an accurate picture of any particular drought episode, but provide invaluable decision-making tools.Percent of normal precipitation - presented for a single month, a growing season, or an annual or water year - is one of the simplest and most useful indicators of ongoing or impending drought episodes. The homepage of the Oklahoma Mesonet provides a wide array of this and related information garnered primarily from a network of 120 automated stations located throughout the state.
The Palmer Drought Severity Index uses precipitation, air temperature, soil moisture, evapotranspiration and previous indices to generate a positive or negative number, with a value of 0 being normal, -4 and below an extremely dry condition, and 4 and above an extremely wet condition. The PDSI is most effective in measuring impacts sensitive to soil moisture conditions, such as agriculture. However, the PDSI is slow to respond to rainfall events and subsequent runoff and it may underestimate or overestimate the severity of ongoing dry periods. The PDSI is updated weekly.
The Standardized Precipitation Index, more sensitive than the PDSI, provides a comparison of precipitation over a specified period with precipitation totals from that same period for all years included in the historical record. The 3-month SPI provides a seasonal estimation of precipitation which, primarily in agricultural regions, might be more applicable in highlighting available moisture conditions than the PDSI. The 6-month SPI can be very effective in showing precipitation over distinct seasons.
The Keetch-Byram Drought Index, an excellent tool to monitor drought-related fire conditions, is a soil/duff index that ranges from 0 (no drought) to 775 (extreme drought) and is based on a soil capacity of 8 inches of water. The KBDI is calculated 11 times each day as an integral product of the Oklahoma Fire Danger Model. Oklahoma Forestry Services (of the State Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry) monitors state wildfire danger and advises the Governor on implementation of burning bans and the state's Red Flag Fire Alert.
The Crop Moisture Index uses a meteorological approach to monitor crop conditions from week to week. Unlike the Palmer Drought Severity Index, which monitors long-term wet and dry spells, the CMI is designed to evaluate short-term moisture conditions in major crop-producing regions, such as Oklahoma. The CMI is issued weekly.
To obtain a general representation of the impact of drought upon the flow of Oklahoma rivers and streams, the U.S. Geological Survey produces a statewide map demonstrating the current seven-day average streamflow compared to historical data. Resulting information indicates areas of the state undergoing various stages of hydrologic drought. All available data for Oklahoma streams can be accessed via the National Streamflow Information Program (NSIP) map viewer. Through the Cooperative Streamgaging Program, the OWRB partners with the USGS, Corps of Engineers, tribes and various local cooperators to maintain a large network of gages statewide that provide priceless real-time and historical data on surface water quantity and quality.
Monitoring the general condition of the state's major reservoirs, which can be seriously impacted by prolonged drought episodes, is extremely helpful in identifying emerging surface water supply problems. The Tulsa District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and USGS provide real-time lake level and storage information for 49 reservoirs in Oklahoma.
The OWRB’s Groundwater Level Map Viewer includes data for 41 water wells (six located at Oklahoma Mesonet sites) equipped with continuous water level recorders as well as some 500 water wells statewide whose depth to water is measured each year through under the agency's Water Well Level Mass Measurement Program. Useful historical trend data is also available for hundreds of wells no longer in the Mass Measurement network. The USGS National Water Information System also contains extensive groundwater data for Oklahoma and the nation.
The state's vitally important agriculture is particularly vulnerable to drought. Crop Progress reports are issued weekly throughout the growing season by the Oklahoma Agricultural Statistics Service. In addition, OSU's Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources maintains an excellent website that includes a great deal of information on agricultural-related drought and drought management strategies for producers.
The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality maintains information on water systems and communities experiencing drought-related and other water problems, including those implementing various local water use restrictions. The OWRB also offers grants for infrastructure-related emergencies resulting from drought situations.