StateImpact Oklahoma
1:20 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

State Officials: Oklahoma Needs Oil Industry’s Help To Meet Water Goals

Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Insufficient rains and increasing demand put enormous pressure on Oklahoma’s water resources both on the surface and underground. But it’s also hard to overstate the role evaporation plays in the drought.

The oil and gas industry has been part of the problem, storing tens of millions of gallons of water needed for the hydraulic fracturing process in large, open pits, leaving it to be ravaged by evaporation until the water is needed.

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Deadline To Apply Nov. 26
1:26 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

$1.5 Million In Grant Money Available For Water Conservation Projects

Credit Vicki / Flickr.com

Oklahoma officials say $1.5 million in drought grants is available for projects that highlight the responsible use of water.

The grants are capped at $500,000 each, and the deadline for application is Nov. 26. Gov. Mary Fallin says the responsible use of water is the most effective and immediate way to prevent future water shortages in Oklahoma.

According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, about 85 percent of Oklahoma is experiencing some form of drought, with the driest conditions occurring in the southwest and the Panhandle.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
8:37 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Drought-Stricken Southwest Oklahoma Towns Look For More Water Underground

After four years of drought, municipal water storage in in Altus-Lugert lake has dropped to about 10 percent.
Joe Wertz StateImpact Oklahoma

Water supplies in southwest Oklahoma are in danger of drying up as four years of drought drag lake levels to record lows. Some communities are scrambling to supplement their current water sources, while others look for new sources — in Texas.

Estimates say Duncan’s main water source — Lake Waurika — could be too low to use by 2016.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
7:28 am
Fri September 5, 2014

Lawton Moves To Stricter Water Rationing As Lake Levels Continue To Drop

The dam at Lake Ellsworth in January 2014.
duggar11 Flickr Creative Commons

Last week, the city council in Duncan discussed moving to Stage 4 water rationing, which would limit outdoor watering to just one day per week. Now, officials in Lawton are instituting tougher city-wide water restrictions.

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5:30 am
Tue August 26, 2014

More Oklahoma Water Systems Implement Mandatory Rationing

Lake Thunderbird in Norman
Credit Kristina and David / Flickr Creative Commons

The State Department of Environmental Quality has recently released its Water Rationing Report.

The 2014 report is not a new report but rather one that is continuously updated with the name and number of water systems who are reported to be rationing water. 

There are 30 total systems listed within the report. Of those systems, 27 are currently participating in mandatory rationing and the remaining three in voluntary rationing.

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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.

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Weather and Climate
6:37 am
Fri August 8, 2014

Heavy Rainfall Helps Ease Drought In Oklahoma, Southwest

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map for Oklahoma, released August 7, 2014
U.S. Drought Monitor U.S. Department of Agriculture

A generous storm season has helped ease drought conditions in Oklahoma and the Southwest but parts of the hard-hit southern plains still have a long way to go. The U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday says between 2 and 6 inches of rain fell in storms last week across the plains of Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas and Texas, which have been stuck in a drought for nearly four years.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
6:35 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Dwindling Drought Doesn’t Mean A Slowdown In Water Conservation Efforts

The July 29 update of the U.S. Drought Monitor, which doesn't reflect the full impact of this week's rainfall.

Despite more than 80 percent of the state still being under some level of drought, recent wet weather and below average temperatures continue to reduce the severity and size of drought in Oklahoma.

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Weather and Climate
6:54 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Farmers Hoping For More Rain To Lessen Drought

Brothers and business partners Fred and Wayne Schmedt stand in their family's wheat field near Altus in southwest Oklahoma.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Some Oklahoma farmers say there's "cautious optimism" that patchy rains this summer will make a dent in the drought afflicting much of the state and help save crops and cattle.

But they concede conditions could change quickly, like they did last year when Oklahoma settled back into the oppressive heat of the summer months. Crops wilted and hay shortages were prevalent across a large swath of the state.

Tim Bartram, with the Oklahoma Wheat Growers Association, says if periodic rains suddenly dry up, many farmers will be left with a familiar picture from last season.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
1:08 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Oklahoma Drought Easing In The West, Intensifying In The East

The July 1 update of the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Credit U.S. Drought Monitor

All the recent wet weather in western Oklahoma has put a big dent in the severity of the ongoing drought there.

But as one part of the state celebrates above-average rainfall, a state climatologist says eastern Oklahoma — which has been spared the brunt of the drought so far — is getting dryer.

From The Oklahoman‘s Silas Allen:

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