Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Many of the programs protecting Oklahoma’s air and land are paid for with fees and federal dollars. Oversight and inspection of local water systems, however, are funded by state revenue that has dwindled — and failed.

Chandler, a city of about 3,000 residents, like many small communities in Oklahoma, has struggled with deteriorating pipes and pumps, limited funding to make repairs and upgrades, and increasing demands to provide clean water to more and more customers.

The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality just added eight lakes to its fish consumption advisory, which now includes 40 lakes in total. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the fish aren’t safe to eat. Just try not to eat too much.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Water contaminated by algae blooms or choked by sediment and pollutants kills wildlife and isn’t healthy for humans. It’s up to the state to make sure Oklahoma’s lakes and rivers are safe, but budget cuts are threatening that mission, officials say.


Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The biggest news out of the Oklahoma Governor’s Water Conference Dec. 1-2 was Governor Mary Fallin’s announcement of a working group to find alternatives to injecting produced water from oil and gas drilling deep into the ground. The goal is to reduce earthquakes, but also save water. 



The annual Oklahoma Governor’s Water Conference in Norman included updates on regional water plans, drought mitigation, and experts from other states sharing their water insights. But, Governor Mary Fallin came with a new idea to save water — and reduce earthquakes.

Fallin told the crowd Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry injected 1.5 billion barrels of wastewater from fracking into the ground last year, a process scientists have linked to the state’s earthquake swarm.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s lakes weren’t built to last forever. Over time, dirt and debris are slowly filling them in. Right now, there’s no good way to solve the problem, but cities that rely on Waurika Lake are turning to costly and complicated efforts to save their water supply from silt.


Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

This spring, Oklahoma faced a problem it hadn’t in a while: too much water. Much of that floodwater flowed into rivers and out of Oklahoma — and that’s sparking big new ideas at the state capitol, and rousing an old fight.


Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s small water systems face a big problem: Drinking water standards aregetting stricter, their treatment plants are becoming obsolete, and many cities and towns can’t get the l

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Norman voters in January approved a water rate increase to pay for much needed improvements at the city’s water treatment plant, and in 2014, the city council decided to meet Norman’s future water needs through reuse and wells, rather than rely mor

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