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State Water Plan’s Cost is Questioned, Science Criticized

  • Joe Wertz

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A water consultant disputed the cost of the state's 50-year water plan at a legislative committee meeting Wednesday. He also said the plan was rigged to allow the sale of water from Sardis Lake in southeastern Oklahoma.

A petroleum geologist from Tulsa questioned Oklahoma’s 50-year water plan at a legislative panel on Wednesday.

The Oklahoman’s Michael McNutt reports:

“We got sold a $16 million lemon,” Robert “Bob” Jackman told members of the Joint Legislative Water Study Committee. “This water plan has got as much guidance in it as a pop-bottle rocket.”

From the Tulsa World’s Barbara Hoberock:

The Comprehensive Water Plan, adopted by the Water Resources Board last month, was rigged and gamed from the beginning to sell water to Texas and capture water from Sardis Lake for Oklahoma City use, Jackman said.

Jackman, who said he has worked as a water consultant for 15 years, said the water plan lacked science and that the people who worked on it came from the “demand” side, not the “supply” side, the Oklahoman reported.

J.D. Strong, the board’s executive director, denied the allegations.

“All the allegations raised by Jackman are false,” Strong said, according to the Oklahoman. He said the water plan eventually will cost nearly $12 million — with about 60 percent of the money state funds and 40 percent federal dollars — and that nearly half his agency’s 100 employees are water scientists.

Overall, the 3,000-page water plan, which took five years to draft, received good comments from others, according to the Oklahoman.

The water study committee will make recommendations to the legislature, which will consider it when developing Oklahoma’s water policy.