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April 26, 2014

Web portaltracks Okla.’s water

NORMAN — The Oklahoma Water Survey launched a web portal on Friday that consolidates data for anyone who collects, uses or is interested in Oklahoma’s water quantity and quality.

“There’s a lot of information out there, and it’s nice to have this portion of it put into a single place so we can access it,” Norman Utilities Director Ken Komiske said.

Komiske was one of several professionals and members of the public attending an interactive workshop hosted by the Oklahoma Water Survey as part of the web portal’s launch.

Located inside the Stephenson Research and Technology Center on OU’s South Research Campus, the Oklahoma Water Survey was established to be a trusted source of water information. The web portal should serve as a primary agent of that mission.

“The workshop was a good introduction to the web portal,” Komiske said. “It looked like a lot of thought went into putting it together. I thought it was really easy to use.”

The launch of the web portal was phase one. Future phases will expand the online resource even further.

“It’s a wonderful tool,” said John Harrington, water resources director for the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments. “You can show people what the data is — not just tell them.”

Harrington said data that is visually graphed allows people to see the downward trend of water availability in the area — including the reduction of groundwater in an aquifer. That serves as a useful tool he can use in talking to people about the drought and how it has affected the state.

The new data portal is a “one stop shopping with a shopping cart,” said Oklahoma Water Survey Director Robert Puls who demonstrated Phase I of the portal to workshop attendees.

In this case, the shopping cart carries free goodies.

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