Current Weather
The Spy FM

Drought Continues Despite Oklahoma’s Water ‘Surplus’

Filed by KOSU News in State Impact.
August 23, 2012
 

Click here to download audio

Logan Layden / NPR/StateImpact

Kevin Blackwood, a hydrologist for the Arbuckle-Karst Conservancy, inspects a new sinkhole over the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer in south-central Oklahoma.

The severe drought that parched large areas of the South and Midwest shows few signs of easing, despite recent rainfall.

Oklahoma is actually in a relatively good situation with its water supply, but still, most of the state’s water isn’t where most of the state’s people and agricultural operations are.

The Oklahoma Water Resources Board estimates Oklahoma sits atop more than 300 million acre-feet of groundwater. And no other state has more man-made lakes. With all that water, is it possible Oklahoma has a water surplus, even during this drought?

For J.D. Strong, Director of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, “it depends on how you define ‘surplus.’”

The OWRB approves water use and storage permits.

“It is the case that, the way in which we calculate that water available for permitting, there is still a lot of water available on an average annual basis for us to permit that’s not spoken for right now,” Strong says.

“There is still a lot of water available…for us to permit that’s not spoken for right now.”

- J.D. Strong, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board

 

Southeast Oklahoma has the state’s most surface water, along with the highest poverty rates. And that has some counties looking at turning their liquid assets into cash, and solution to their current economic problems.

Both North Texas and Oklahoma City are thirsty for southeastern Oklahoma’s water. But the sale and control of the water are issues tied up in court.

American Indian tribes lay claim to much of the water based on the 1830 Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, and filed a lawsuit to block its transfer to other areas.

Kevin Blackwood / Arbuckle-Karst Conservancy

East Central University Undergraduate Lindsey Thompson prepares to enter the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer.

Additionally, surpluses aren’t static and the future is looking dry.

Climate projections for Oklahoma over the next century show slightly increasing temperatures, and droughts that are more frequent and longer lasting.

And it’s the long-term that has water experts, like the University of Oklahoma’s Jonathan Gourley, concerned.

“The Water Resources Board puts out some probabilities where we may have some shortages,” Gourley says. “And it’s basically more problematic in the west and the southwest than it is in the east.”

 

 

Powered by WPeMatico

Leave a Reply

1PM to 2PM Seasonal Shows

Seasonal Shows

Listen Live Now!

2PM to 3PM The Dinner Party

The Dinner Party

Think NPR meets Vanity Fair. In each episode, hosts Rico Gagliano & Brendan Francis Newnam talk with some of the world's most interesting celebrities, and along the way equip you with bad jokes, fresh drink recipes, hot food finds, odd news stories... and etiquette tips from the likes of Henry Rollins and Dick Cavett. It's all you need to get an edge in your weekend conversations. Past guests include Michelle Williams, Judd Apatow, Kid Cudi and Sir Richard Branson. Wallpaper magazine calls The Dinner Party one of the Top 40 Reasons To Live In The USA.

View the program guide!

3PM to 4PM The Splendid Table

The Splendid Table

Hosted by award-winning Lynne Rossetto Kasper, The Splendid Table is a culinary, culture and lifestyle program that celebrates food and its ability to touch the lives and feed the souls of everyone.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center