In 1962, Oklahoma U.S. Senator Robert S. Kerr proclaimed water to be “our state’s most precious resource.”
Not oil, not gas, not farmland. Water.
And his generation built some of the finest water infrastructure in the country.
But now that impressive infrastructure is crumbling.
When Kerr made his comments, Oklahoma had recently come out of the worst drought on record. Now, Oklahoma faces a drought of similar proportions, but with demand far greater than what Kerr could have foreseen.
How to balance the needs of a growing population with the importance of tourism to local economies where water is plentiful will be one of the biggest issues facing the state over the next half-century.
Highlight some of the points of conflict.
On paper, it looks like two environmental agencies received funding boosts, but a closer look at the numbers shows the increases aren’t what they appear.
EPA Administrator and former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt was back in the Sooner State last week — to talk about what his agency plans to do about saltwater contamination in Bird Creek in Osage County that could be tied to the oil and gas industry.
In a commentary piece from NonDoc, Walters, a Democrat who served from 1991-1995, says 30 billion gallons of unused water flows into the Red River each day, and capturing and selling just a small portion of it could end the state’s financial problems and make southeast Oklahoma’s economy boom.
Action To Protect Small Creek Pits Mining Companies Against Oklahoma Community Worried About Water Supply
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.
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.
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.
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.
Drought is back in Oklahoma. More than half the state now falls in the extreme drought category, and normally water-rich southeast Oklahoma is bearing the brunt of a very dry fall and winter.