StateImpact water

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Groundwater pumping for agricultural irrigation is likely responsible for substantial depletions of the Ogallala Aquifer, which underlies 175,000 square miles in Oklahoma and seven other states, a report by the U.S. Geological Survey suggests.

Robert Moore, general manager of the Marshall County Water Corporation, addresses a panel on local planning for future droughts at the 35th annual Oklahoma Governor's Water Conference in Oklahoma City Oct. 22.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Drought — and how to deal with it — was the central theme of the annual Oklahoma Governor’s Water Conference last week in Oklahoma City, where water experts and authorities discussed issues ranging from crop management to what Las Vegas can teach Oklahoma about water conservation.

Oklahoma Water Resources Board Executive Director J.D. Strong made the point again this year: The future looks like the past — hotter and drier — and no one should be surprised.

Ramesh Rasalyan /

Duncan has notified residents that the city's water supply has exceeded the maximum contaminant level of a chemical that's used to disinfect the water.

Public Works Director Scott Vaughn says the levels of trihalomethanes, or THMs, slightly exceed federal standards. THMs are a byproduct of the chlorine used to treat the water.

Vaughn says the city notified water customers this week in a letter. Vaughn tells the Duncan Banner that that people with compromised immune systems, the elderly, and those with infants should contact their doctors about drinking the city's water.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

There’s a report out from a group of environmental organizations including Waterkeeper Alliance and the Sierra Club that says there are “essentially no limits” on the amounts toxic metals coal-fired power plants can dump into Oklahoma’s waterways.

Olliehigh / Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma City already depends on water from southeastern Oklahoma, but the 60-inch, 100-mile pipeline from Lake Atoka ain’t enough.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A summer fish kill in north-central Oklahoma is worrying anglers, river-goers and nearby water users.

The Salt Fork River die-off was massive and, still months after it was reported, mysterious. Researchers and state authorities say they still don’t know who or what the killer is.

Two fish kills were reported to the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, records show. The first one on June 3, upstream near Lamont; the second on June 17, near Tonkawa. The two fish kills are likely related, so state authorities are investigating them as one event, officials from the DEQ, state Department of Wildlife Conservation and Corporation Commission tell StateImpact.

“In the areas that overlapped during the kills, there is absolutely zero aquatic life other than turtles,” says Spencer Grace, a state game warden stationed in Kay County.

Water Wars: Who Controls The Flow?

Jun 15, 2013

So often, we take water for granted. We turn on the faucet and there it is. We assume it's our right in America to have water. And yet, water is a resource. It's not always where we need it, or there when we need it.

Rivers don't follow political boundaries — they flow through states and over international borders. And there are endless demands for water: for agriculture, drinking, plumbing, manufacturing, to name just a few. And then there's the ecosystem that depends on water getting downstream.

So what are our legal rights when it comes to water? And who decides?

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Supreme Court has unanimously rejected Texas' claim that it has a right under a 30-year-old agreement to cross the border with Oklahoma for water to serve the fast-growing Fort Worth area.

The justices on Thursday upheld a lower court ruling that said Oklahoma laws intended to block Texas' water claims are valid.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Restaurants in Broken Arrow were ordered to close Wednesday because of a leak in a pipeline that brings water to the city from Pryor, about 30 miles away.

The news can’t come as a complete surprise to Broken Arrow officials, like Engineering Director Kenny Schwab.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Every four years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency releases an analysis of how much federal money states will need to complete water projects to provide clean drinking water over the next 20 years.

The most recent update of the EPA’s Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment was just released, and the national need is staggering: