The Norman Transcript

May 18, 2014

Oklahoma Water Appreciation Day set for May 19

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The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — The ninth annual Oklahoma Water Appreciation Day will be Monday at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. The Oklahoma Water Resources Board will host the event featuring water agency and organization booths and displays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the fourth floor rotunda.

“While we hope Oklahomans appreciate water every day, Water Appreciation Day is a great opportunity to highlight for state legislators and other government officials the importance of Oklahoma’s water resources, as well as to provide information on water management, conservation and educational programs,” said J.D. Strong, OWRB executive director. “This exhibition on Oklahoma’s diverse water resources is especially appropriate now as we wrestle with a fourth straight year of drought and continue implementation of Water for 2060, our major, statewide water conservation campaign.”

Arising from the 2012 update of the Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan, Water for 2060 stems from legislation signed by Gov. Mary Fallin in 2012 that establishes a statewide goal of maintaining fresh water use at current levels through 2060.

An Advisory Council is currently studying innovative incentives and voluntary solutions to help meet the goal, while at the same time meeting increasing demands for water and avoiding forecasted water shortages.

Some options under consideration include improved irrigation/farming techniques, water recycling/reuse systems, high-efficiency plumbing codes, smart irrigation, education programs to change consumer habits, water conservation pricing, financial assistance incentives and leak detection programs.

The OWRB, Oklahoma’s water agency since 1957, continues its original charge of identifying water problems and proposing policies for fair and equitable water laws.

Additionally, the OWRB has provided more than $3.1 billion in loans and grants to assist communities and rural water districts in the construction of water and wastewater facilities, administers almost 13,000 permits for the beneficial use of stream and groundwater, monitors and studies the quality and quantity of surface and groundwaters, ensures the safety of private dams, encourages responsible floodplain management, coordinates four interstate stream compacts, develops Oklahoma Water Quality Standards to curb water pollution, identifies pollution sources, restores water quality and oversees statewide water planning.

In addition to the OWRB, and several academic institutions and civic organizations focused on water issues, the following state and federal agencies also will be featured in the State Capitol exhibition Monday: Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission, Oklahoma Department of Transportation — Waterways Branch, Oklahoma Conservation Commission, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Oklahoma Department of Mines, Oklahoma Geological Survey, Oklahoma Corporation Commission, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality and the Oklahoma Mesonet.

For more information, call Lauren Sturgeon at 530-8800.

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