Oklahoma Water News

3rd Quarter, 2020

Oklahoma Water Resources Board

Throughout the month, the OWRB highlighted the vital work that goes into managing, monitoring, and improving the state's lakes and reservoirs, including the agency's Beneficial Use Monitoring Program, through which staff collect data at approximately 130 lakes on a quarterly basis utilizing a five-year rotation schedule. Data collections include a broad spectrum of chemical, physical, and biological parameters and allow for long-term assessment of beneficial uses and water quality trends. These data are important indicators for determining compliance with water quality standards, tracking general water quality trends, and identifying pollution problems.

Monitoring staff also conduct lake restoration activities and bathymetric mapping to determine lake storage capacity. The OWRB has completed 75 bathymetric surveys in the past 20 years, 18 of which were conducted in the past 6 years on drinking water supply lakes in partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ). The surveys provide accurate determinations of the current storage capacities for the lakes.

The OWRB also highlighted outreach by the ODEQ to educate Oklahomans about swimming in Oklahoma's lakes and protecting against potential waterborne microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. The ODEQ offers a fact sheet that lists steps to reduce exposure to these microorganisms, a small proportion of which are associated with human illnesses.

The US Army Corps of Engineers National Water Safety Program highlighted the importance of wearing a life jacket through a public service announcement via video and twitter campaign #LifeJacketsWornNobodyMourns, which is a reminder that even if you don't wear a life jacket for yourself, please wear it for those who love and depend on you.

Every year in July, Oklahomans can engage in citizen science by participating in the Secchi-Dip-In, sponsored by the North American Lake Management Society (NALMS). The Secchi Dip-In is an international oportunity for volunteers and professionals to gather and submit data on water bodies to provide annual "snapshots" of water transparency and clarity and track changes in water quality.