water

When three sacred staples of the South weren't safe from the cloudy, salty water in his town, Clay Duffie knew there was a problem.

"It'd kill your azaleas if you irrigated with it; your grits would come out in a big clump, instead of creamy like they should," Duffie said.

Even the sweet tea.

"Your tea would come out all cloudy," Duffie said. "Oh man, it was bad news."

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The most practical alternative to earthquake-triggering oilfield disposal wells is for energy companies to reuse the wastewater instead of injecting it underground, leaders of a research group working on behalf of the state said Wednesday.

AVOIDING INJECTION

Researchers have come up with a new way to extract water from thin air. Literally.

This isn't the first technology that can turn water vapor in the atmosphere into liquid water that people can drink, but researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California, Berkeley, say their approach uses less power and works in drier environments.

USACETULSA / CC BY 2.0

In the struggle to come up with ways to fill Oklahoma’s nearly $900 million budget gap, some have suggested non-standard ideas to raise money — ideas that often die unceremoniously in the legislative process.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Pennington Creek in south-central Oklahoma is the only source of drinking water for the town of Tishomingo. Residents there are worried limestone mining operations threaten the creek. Now, the city council is taking on the companies doing the digging.

As President Trump promises major investment in infrastructure, people across the country are hoping that includes spending on water pipes for drinking.

Flint, Mich., was a high-profile example of the many communities — like one in Eastern Kentucky — where people just can't trust their water.

U.S. DROUGHT MONITOR

Frigid temperatures never fully took hold in Oklahoma this winter. February saw record high temperatures, and instead of ice and snow, wildfires were the main weather-related concern, and drought — though improved — has persisted across much of the state.

In a statement summarizing February’s weather highlights and looking ahead to March, State Climatologist Gary McManus says the first two months of 2017 broke the record for the warmest combined January and February in state history.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The crippling five-year drought Oklahoma finally broke out of in 2015 is still fresh in the memory of the state’s water regulators, which is looking for ways the state can better withstand future dry spells. The Water Resources Board this week approved new rules to allow water to be stored underground, in aquifers.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

State Representative Leslie Osborn is the new chair of the powerful House Appropriations and Budget Committee, an influential position that gives her bills extra weight. StateImpact talked to Osborn about legislation she’s pushing to increase mining fees, and to explore the sale of the Grand River Dam Authority.

GRDA IN THE CROSSHAIRS

Joe Brusky / Flickr

There are over 330,000 Native Americans in the state of Oklahoma, with 38 federally recognized tribes - the second largest Native American population in the country second to California.

As history has shown, those numbers have not always translated to political power in the state, where fights for oil and water rights have often been dominated by U.S. government interests, at the expense of tribes.

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