Oklahoma Water Resources Board the Water Agency

From the Director

From the Director is a column published in the agency's quarterly newsletter, the Oklahoma Water News. The column provides the OWRB Executive Director an opportunity to share a unique viewpoint on pertinent state water issues and discuss various OWRB activities and events.

1st Quarter 2017

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board. As we look back at the remarkable progress our state has made in managing and planning for water resource needs, we can take pride in the collective leadership of so many who have contributed to furthering our mission of securing our safety, economy, and quality of life. As we celebrate this milestone, I look forward to advancing our important mission by continuing our history of providing relevant science to inform decisions, low-cost infrastructure financing, and expert service to our citizens in the years ahead.

Another legislative session is underway and I want to thank the 30 exhibitor organizations, legislators, and state officials that made this year’s Oklahoma Water Appreciation Day at the Capitol a success. Several bills spurred by discussions by the produced water working group to facilitate use of produced water are making their way through the process, particularly regarding water ownership and state permitting authority. The group’s March meeting was well attended by experts from the energy industry, water use sectors, treatment technology companies, researchers, and the press, and next steps for research partnerships were discussed.

With the devastating wildfires that ravaged northeast Oklahoma and its neighboring states in March, we are reminded of the importance of water for our agricultural community. Just a few months of below normal rainfall allowed the fires to spread quickly across the landscape, tragically costing seven lives and resulting in severe losses of livestock, pastures, hay, fences, and facilities totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.

As regional groups around the state are working together to plan for their long-term water needs, we continue to focus on implementation of the Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan and core statutory programs to expand water sources, financing options, and knowledge of water quality and quantity trends. In this issue we highlight the Groundwater Monitoring and Assessment Program (GMAP), which was initiated in 2013 as a priority recommendation of the plan. GMAP provides important data and analysis for use by local interests in developing and protecting Oklahoma’s groundwater resources. Reports and mapping products are available on our website.

On behalf of the board and staff I am pleased to welcome new board member Charles Darby, who will represent recreational water use in OWRB Region 9. He replaces veteran Board member Richard Sevenoaks, who served for almost 20 years. Richard will be missed for his knowledge and active leadership.

Lastly, I am extremely proud to announce that the OWRB was awarded the Certified Healthy Business title, once again, for employees’ actions to stay active and healthy by engaging in various running events, the Community Supported Agriculture program, state sponsored sport leagues and other healthy activities.

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Last updated: May 17, 2017

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