Oklahoma Water Resources Board the Water Agency

Water Conservation

Water for 2060 Act
Water for 2060 Advisory Council
OCWP Priority Recommendation on Conservation
OCWP Water Conservation Analysis
Water Conservation Initiatives in Other States
Water Conservation Tips

Water For 2060 Act

With passage of House Bill 3055 (the Water For 2060 Act) in 2012, Oklahoma became the first state in the nation to establish a bold, statewide goal of consuming no more fresh water in 2060 than is consumed today. The OWRB has partnered with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin preliminary work required to support the new Water for 2060 Advisory Council, chaired by OWRB Executive Director, J.D. Strong.

Water for 2060 Advisory Council

The fifteen members of the Water for 2060 Advisory Council are charged with studying and recommending appropriate water conservation practices, incentives, and educational programs to moderate statewide water usage while preserving Oklahoma’s population growth and economic development goals. The Council's final report of findings and recommendations will be submitted to the Governor, Speaker of the House, and President Pro Tempore by late 2015.

OCWP Priority Recommendation on Conservation

As one of its eight Priority Recommendations, the Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan (OCWP) advocates incentives and voluntary initiatives that strive to maintain statewide fresh water use at current (2012) levels through 2060:

  • Tax credits, cost-sharing, tiered water pricing, and other programs to encourage the following activities:
    • Improved irrigation and farming techniques;
    • Green infrastructure;
    • Water recycling/reuse systems;
    • Control of invasive species;
    • Recharge of aquifers; and
    • Use of marginal quality waters.
  • Expanded support for education programs that modify and improve consumer water use habits.
  • Encouragement of Oklahoma water systems to implement leak detection and repair programs through existing or new financial assistance mechanisms.

OCWP Water Conservation Analysis

For the 2012 OCWP Update, various conservation scenarios were analyzed to reduce water demand and thus mitigate the degree of projected water deficits in Oklahoma. The analysis targeted the state’s two largest water use sectors, Municipal and Industrial (M&I) and Crop Irrigation, which together account for about 72 percent of the overall current (2010) statewide water demand. The study contemplated both “moderate” (Scenario I) and “substantially expanded” (Scenario II) levels of conservation, collectively summarized below:

  • Municipal & Industrial Conservation:
    • Passive conservation through government plumbing codes as part of the federal Energy Policy Act;
    • Expanded metering of customer water usage;
    • Reduced system leakage and water losses;
    • Conservation pricing;
    • Educational programs; and
    • High efficiency plumbing codes utilizing fixtures with lower maximum flow rates than those required under the Energy Policy Act.
  • Crop Irrigation Conservation:
    • Increased field application efficiency of surface irrigation systems;
    • Shifting to micro-irrigation;
    • Widespread implementation of low energy precision application (LEPA) sprinkler systems; and
    • Shifting to less water-intensive crops.

Analysis results indicate that full implementation of moderate conservation would reduce 2060 water demands to levels approaching those forecasted for 2020. Additionally, full implementation of substantially expanded conservation, or at least some of its components, would result in facilitation of the ambitious conservation goal set forth in the OCWP. In most basins, managing water demand through conservation activities was shown to be equally effective in reducing or eliminating gaps or storage depletions, particularly in alluvial aquifers. More specifically, moderate conservation could reduce surface water gaps statewide by 25% and reduce the number of basins with projected surface water gaps from 55 to 42; reduce alluvial groundwater depletions by 32% (from 63 basins to 51); and reduce bedrock groundwater depletions by 15% (from 34 basins to 26).

Detailed information on these conservation techniques is available in the Water Demand Forecast Report Addendum: Conservation and Climate Change. In addition to the above measures, artificial aquifer recharge projects [view report] and the expanded use/reuse of marginal quality waters [view report]–such as brackish groundwater, treated wastewater effluent, production water from oil and gas operations, and stormwater runoff–could also have significant utility in reducing future demand placed on fresh water in Oklahoma. Both options were investigated as part of the OCWP update.

Water Conservation Initiatives in Other States:



EPA Case Studies on Water Conservation
Published by the EPA in 2002, this report includes over 15 case studies on water conservation and efficiency programs initiated by large and small cities across the country.

Water Conservation Tips

  • Fix leaks.
    • An American home can waste, on average, more than 10,000 gallons of water every year due to running toilets, dripping faucets, and other household leaks.
  • In the bathroom . . .
    • Turn off the tap while shaving or brushing teeth.
    • Install a low-flow shower head (2.5 gpm or less) and faucet aerators for the sink.
    • Install a low-volume flush toilet.
    • Do not use the toilet to flush away trash that can be thrown into a wastebasket.
  • In the kitchen . . .
    • Plug up the sink or use a wash basin if washing dishes by hand.
    • Use a dishwasher and make sure it is fully loaded.
    • Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of letting the faucet run until the water is cool.
    • Thaw food in the refrigerator overnight rather than using hot water from the tap.
    • Add food wastes to your compost pile instead of using the garbage disposal.
  • In the laundry room . . .
    • Wash only full loads of laundry or use the washing machine’s appropriate water level or load size selection. A newer water-saving washing machine can reduce water use by as much as 64%.
  • Outdoors . . .
    • Don't over water. If you step on your lawn and the grass springs back, it does not require water. Visit the Oklahoma Mesonet's Simple Irrigation Plan (SIP) website to find the best way to water your type of lawn specific to your location in Oklahoma!
    • Water in the early morning (4 to 7 a.m.) to reduce evaporation.
    • Utilize runoff water, where possible, such as a rainwater harvesting system for your home.
    • Use a broom rather than a hose to clean driveways, sidewalks, and porches.
    • Check your garden hose for leaks at its connection to the spigot. Ensure a tight connection, and if needed, replace the hose washer.
    • Wash the car with water from a bucket or consider using a commercial car wash that recycles water.
    • If you have a pool, use a cover to reduce evaporation when it is not being used.
    • Use native and drought-tolerant plants that require less water.
    • Reduce the amount of turfgrass, or at least place it strategically, where needed.

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Page last updated: November 02, 2015

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