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water

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Many of the 1,500 or so residents of Konawa, in Seminole County, are once again without water as the town continues to grapple with the ongoing breakdown of the pipes, mains, and pumps that deliver water to homes and businesses.

dead fish in dry riverbed
OakleyOriginals / Flickr Creative Commons

Tulsa has been spared the worst effects of Oklahoma’s drought, which has been concentrated in western and southwestern regions of the state.

Retired Col. Michael Teague, Secretary of Energy and Environment, stands in front of a dam at Lake Eufaula.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Traditionally, Oklahoma’s governor has relied on advice from separate officials representing energy and the environment.

But in July, Gov. Mary Fallin moved to combine the two offices into one. “Strong energy policy is strong environmental policy,” Fallin said in a statement accompanying an executive order creating the new Secretary of Energy and Environment cabinet secretary post.

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.

GRDA

The Department of Environmental Quality is urging Oklahomans to be wary of microorganisms when swimming or boating on the state's untreated lakes and streams during the long Labor Day weekend.

DEQ says certain kinds of bacteria, viruses and protozoa can occur naturally in waterways while others are carried from a variety of sources. Some can cause mild problems such as ear infections, swimmer's itch and gastrointestinal disorders. Others can cause rare but serious conditions such as eye infections and some forms of meningitis.

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.

LLudo / Flickr Creative Commons

Moore, Norman and Oklahoma City are the primary polluters of Lake Thunderbird, a sensitive drinking water source classified as “impaired” by the Environmental Protection Agency, new data show.

State and municipal water and environmental authorities have been working on a plan to clean up the lake, colloquially referred to as “dirtybird” for its murky appearance and weird smell, which still hasn’t met Clean Water Act target dates from 30 years ago.

Olliehigh / Flickr Creative Commons

While the State of Oklahoma won the Supreme Court Water War with Texas, its in-state skirmish is still simmering.

This battle — between the state and the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations — is being waged within Oklahoma’s borders. But unlike the Red River water dispute, reports from the front lines of Oklahoma’s tribal water war are sketchy and scarce. The Associated Press’ Tim Talley explains news drought:

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

It seemed like a good idea back in 1979: Broken Arrow, population 35,000 at the time, would pipe its water in from the Grand River, 27 miles away, and save some money over buying water from Tulsa.

Finzio / Flickr Creative Commons

The count of kids with cavities is on the rise in Pottawatomie County, where no fluoride is added to the public water systems.

And pediatric health groups and a local dental association are sounding alarms, the Shawnee News-Star’s Madi Alexander reports:

Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department

Lake Waurika was built in by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1977 to serve, primarily, as a source of drinking water for Lawton and surrounding communities. It has also become an important tourist attraction for the area.

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?

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:

The Oklahoma Water Resources Board is a big advocate for regional water planning, the idea that local control over who uses what water and where it’s sent will lead to better conservation.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Water Resources Board is a big advocate for regional water planning, the idea that local control over who uses what water and where it’s sent will lead to better conservation.

But the move toward regional planning signed into law Friday by Gov. Mary Fallin isn’t exactly what the board had in mind.

“We had nothing to do with this bill,” OWRB Executive Director J.D. Strong says.

Oklahoma City Residents Asked To Conserve Water

May 21, 2013
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Oklahoma City residents are being asked to help conserve water while power remains out at one of the city's main water treatment facilities.

City officials say rain and lightning during Monday night's storm delayed progress to restore power at the Draper Water Treatment Plant.

City spokeswoman Debbie Ragan says low water pressure is being reported in downtown Oklahoma City, the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and the state Capitol complex.

Ragan says city officials hope to have power restored by Tuesday afternoon.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Tarrant v. Herrmann, an Oklahoma-Texas water fight with national implications. The justices grappled with the 30-year-old Red River Compact, and whether a region of Texas can reach across state lines to access water in southeastern Oklahoma.

Next week, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in an Oklahoma-Texas water case that could have ripple effects on interstate water-sharing agreements throughout the country.

The Tarrant water case is deep, but StateImpact Oklahoma wants to be your Red River guide. They’ve assembled a visual map to help you wade through the key components of this important Supreme Court case.

2011 Water Conservation Plan for the City of Norman

A growth in demand and decline in supply has made water the most valuable resource in Norman and perhaps even in the state. Legislators, city officials and scientists are working to create comprehensive plans to create water sustainability. Lake Thunderbird is a major water source for Norman and surrounding cities. Officials say if they don’t find a solution soon, water may become a scarce resource.

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