The Oklahoma Water Resources Board on Tuesday unanimously approved the terms of a plan to further study the Upper Red River Basin as part of the Water SMART Basin Studies Program.
The study, which has an estimated cost of approximately $1.4 million, will help Oklahoma’s southwest corner find ways to best conserve and manage the water they draw from the Upper Red River Basin. Southwest Oklahoma, Planning and Management Division Chief Julie Cunningham said, has been the region most affected by recent drought conditions in the state.
The ongoing drought in Oklahoma affects everyone in the country. Well, everyone who likes to eat beef, that is. Beef and veal prices will have risen by about 11.5 percent in 2014, and, as Reuters reports, “will increase significantly again in 2015″ because of drought in the Southern Plains.
The board that oversees the water distribution of Waurika Lake says drought conditions continue to affect the lake, which is used as a water source in southwest Oklahoma.
Waurika Lake Master Conservancy District Director David Taylor says the Waurika Lake watershed has received just 14.7 inches of rain this year. According to the Lawton Constitution, Taylor estimates that the lake has enough usable water to last until March 2016.
Taylor says rehabilitation and maintenance work to the lake could increase that time to January 2017.
Members of the House Utility and Environmental Regulation Committee heard outlines Tuesday of different ways to address Oklahoma’s water needs.
Oklahoma Water Resource Board Executive Director J.D. Strong and Deputy Secretary of Environment Tyler Howell suggested a broadly based approach, while former OWRB Executive Director and Environmental Federation of Oklahoma President Jim Barnett told committee members greater infrastructure spending should be considered, but not at the exclusion of other ideas such as conservation and reuse.
A lake in northeastern Oklahoma has dipped to its shallowest level since its impoundment 30 years ago.
Sara Goodeyon of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers tells the Tulsa World that Skiatook Lake had a level of about 698 feet on Friday. Despite recent rains, it's more than 15 feet below normal. The last time it was above the normal level of 714 feet was more than four years ago.
Oklahoma wheat growers are calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to implement a Farm Bill provision they say would address the ongoing drought that's plagued the state and others for the past several years.
The new provision allows farmers to maintain enough crop insurance to cover expected production in exchange for paying a higher premium to cover any additional liability. The provision will change how farmers make the estimate of their expected production.