Science and Technology
3:48 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Garber-Wellington Aquifer Being Depleted

Garber Wellington Aquifer
Credit Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality

A large, Central Oklahoma aquifer will be 50 percent depleted as early as 2049 if usage continues at the current rates, an updated study presented Tuesday to the Oklahoma Water Resources Board shows.

The study on the Garber-Wellington aquifer, which lies beneath much of central Oklahoma, including Oklahoma City, Moore, Norman, Shawnee and other cities, examined the rates of water usage from 1987 through 2009.

"This analysis indicates that this pumping rate ... is not sustainable for more than 41 years if every landowner with a potential well in each acre in the Central Oklahoma aquifer exercised their temporary right to pump at that rate," the study states.

eCapitol's Rachael Brown reports that the study's supervisor, Chris Neel, told the board that the study will be needed to determine future policy on conserving the water in the aquifer.

"We're not ready yet to talk about limits on groundwater withdrawals... because the technical study is really just wrapped up." Neel said.

Neel said, however, that such conservation recommendations could come from his group "within the next year or so."