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Owen Mills, Director
OK Water Resources Board
3800 North Classen Blvd.
Oklahoma City, OK 73118
Boldly define, address, and resolve Oklahoma's water challenges
Focus of the 2025 OCWP Update*
- Advance 2012 OCWP Policy Recommendations by identifying actions necessary to continue their implementation.
- Identify basins with projected water challenges or opportunities through modeling and assessing water availability, water demand projections, and water quality trends.
- Identify and recommend water management strategies for all water-use sectors, consider the cost of doing nothing, and, with the Water for 2060 goal in mind and a One Water approach, the Team will develop innovative new funding mechanisms to support their implementation.
- Integrate the OCWP with Oklahoma’s first statewide Flood Plan.
(more to come...)
- Conduct focused engagement throughout the process to identify the most pressing water issues and develop best practicable solutions in collaboration with representatives from all water use sectors, Tribal Nations, interested water planning groups, state agencies and legislators, local entities, and federal organizations.
- Provide greater access to OCWP deliverables by creating an online interactive geo-referenced site designed for public access to customizable queries of datasets, graphs, maps, and more.
* Realization of each Focus element is contingent upon availability of state and federal funding
Narrow OCWP Focus to Key Issues - The 2025 OCWP will focus on the most pressing water issues and work to highlight a range of solutions for them. The 2012 OCWP, as the first substantially funded statewide Water Plan in Oklahoma, was appropriately very broad in its scope, endeavoring to cover just about everything water via extensive public input. Such an effort, however, necessitated a high-level look at most water issues. The 2025 OCWP will drill down on the most critical issues identified by water interests across the state, providing a more detailed roadmap for addressing them.
|Example: Identified Key Issue - The 2012 OCWP determined a 50-year $17.4 billion need for Drinking Water Infrastructure in rural areas with less than 7,000 persons - That is a daunting challenge that will require creative new approaches. With this in mind, the 2025 OCWP Team will take a more focused look to define the problems, propose implementable strategies, research and develop funding solutions.
Build from Expert Local Input - Engagement meetings tapping local specialists in each water sector, providing first-hand opportunities for the most pressing issues to be identified and addressed.
Integrate with State Flood Plan - Established in 2020 by Senate Bill 1269, the first Oklahoma Flood Plan (OFP) will, among other tasks, identify and prioritize local needs across the state for flood planning and critical flood prevention infrastructure. Opportunities to integrate such as beneficial use of excess flood water will be identified and merged into this OCWP.
Organize through a Phased Workflow - The process for developing the 2025 OCWP was established in 2021, culminating in the OCWP Programmatic Work Plan (PWP). The plan will be developed in five Phases. One thru Four build & progress in a linear fashion – 1-Plan | 2-Analyze | 3-Develop | 4-Rollout – and 5-Engagement: integrates, supports, and refines the work at each Phase. These Phases and their major Tasks (1A, 1B, and so on) are presented in the "OCWP Framework" workflow figure (click to enlarge).
2025 Phase Descriptions
- Plan - Programmatic Work Plan (PWP) and Engagement Plan
- Analyze - Water supply, demand, and quality data: surveys, modeling, forecasting
- Develop - Recommendations, water management strategies, resilience assessment, local infrastructure needs, policy assessment
- Rollout - Reports, OCWP online resources, financial assistance recommendations, implementation plans, and more
- Engagement - Share interim results and solicit input: Review, Refine, Prioritize OCWP content
Phase 1 - Plan (complete)
With input from several selected work groups, agencies, and known professionals from across the state, the OCWP Team finalized the Programmatic Work Plan and Engagement Plan and submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, OWRB's partner in OCWP development. The PWP is designed as a living document that may be updated periodically as the OCWP work evolves.
The PWP outlines and divides initiatives into Tasks and Subtasks with high-level descriptions of each; then organizes into workflow a long list of potential projects, studies, outreach, and workgroup efforts derived from: what we learned in the 2012 OCWP, current input meetings, and legislatively prescribed OCWP components. Not every line item can be addressed; however, as we move throught the process,learn from the data and models, hear local input, and see what future funding levels look like, we will be able to priortize and choose.
Phase 2 - Analyze (in progress)
- Gather and enter supply and demand data from state agencies and other organizations for the 82 watershed basins across the state. These data may include municipal, agricultural, industrial, and other water uses.
- Redesign the Oklahoma H2O computer model from the 2012 version, providing OWRB planners the ability to run 50-year projections and various scenarios for each water sector at multiple levels of detail.
- Upscale the water quality trends analyses for several parameters from pilots and smaller trends efforts OWRB has created in recent years. Using OWRB's long-term statewide monitoring data, these analyses will help to identify streams, lakes, and groundwater sources that are likely to change significantly for critical parameters.
- Survey water treatment systems across the state to better characterize water infrastructure needs.
- Generate and facilitate topical meetings and workgroups to review existing conditions, best practices from other regions or states. The workgroup topics are still being identified.
- Establish 50-year projections: The 2020 Census data will be released in the coming months; these data will be integrated into the supply/demand database and model for the most up-to-date projections possible.
Phase 3 - Develop (in progress)
- Assess water supply vulnerabilities unique to each sector and region of the state, and provide recommended strategies for increasing resilience to those threats.
- Develop regional water management strategies (WMS) as solutions for projected water supply shortages and challenges, which will include collaboration with the new Oklahoma Flood Plan.
- Develop water policy alternatives for identified priority concerns. May include identification of supplemental scientific or engineering investigations.
- Assess refinements to tools and methods used by OWRB permitting and technical studies staff. Identify and synthesize Local Infrastructure Projects & Program needs to better characterize needs across the state and establish the potential basis for additional state-level funding and financing programs.
- Identify "Focus Basins" where near-term investments could effectively address expected growth, obtain new supply sources, prevent changes in water quality, invest in cooperative planning, or reveal other opportunities.
Phase 4 - Rollout* (future Phase)
- Online public-facing 2025 OCWP; e.g., reports, studies, and interactive customizable data queries
- Executive and Regional reports, supplemental reports, technical memoradums
- Implementaton plans
- Recommendations for meeting financial assistance needs, identified policy alternatives, critical local or regional studies, and other statewide planning and implementation needs
* Realization of each Rollout element will be contingent upon availability of state and federal funding.
Phase 5 - Engagement (in progress)
Engagement with water users, existing Regional Planning Groups, Tribal Nations, state agencies, legislators, and the general public will occur throughout the OCWP process as indicated in the flowchart above. Engagement activities will include formal meetings as well as collaboratives or small group conversations based on topic and needs of the task. Information on upcoming engagement activities will be posted here as they develop