Northwest Oklahoma Water Action Team
The NWAT, a sub-committee of the Northwest Oklahoma Alliance (NwOA), is committed to the conservation, development and sensible management of water resources and supplies for all users in northwest Oklahoma. The Team includes representatives of municipalities, agriculture organizations, rural water districts, industry and the energy sector who are responsible for creation and ongoing implementation of the NWAP. An overarching goal of the Team, as well as of the NWAP, is to ensure responsible water use consistent with regional economic development goals. The Team is chaired by Lisa Powell, Executive Director of the Enid Regional Development Alliance (ERDA), and advised by water consultants Duane Smith and Associates. NWAT receives additional technical supported from relevant state agencies—including the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) and Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ)—and other organizations with regional interests.
Northwest Oklahoma Water Action Plan
The NWAP, finalized in May 2015, features innovative yet feasible strategies to address both local and regional water issues and problems in the 10 counties comprising Northwest Oklahoma. In addition to specific recommendations developed by and vetted through members of the NWAP Steering Committee and Planning Team (subsequently reformed as the Northwest Oklahoma Water Action Team), the Plan also provides an assessment of current and future water supply/demand and relevant water issues to facilitate implementation.
News & Events
Kaw Lake Project
In 2016, Enid citizens approved a tax proposition to fund construction of a water transmission pipeline from Kaw Lake to the City, including associated treatment, storage and distribution facilities. The project, anticipated for completion as soon as 2022, will ensure reliable water supply for Enid through at least the next 50 years. Visit the City of Enid Kaw Lake Project Website for information – CLICK HERE!
Nitrates Treatment Pilot Project
Working with a variety of experts, agencies and organizations, the NWAT is currently exploring potential solutions to elevated levels of nitrates in the region’s groundwater supplies. Because nitrates are extremely difficult and expensive to treat and dispose of through conventional methods, several promising technologies have been recently developed. The Team has identified promising options for evaluation, both in the lab and at potential pilot projects in Fairview and Cordell, two communities with particularly challenging nitrate issues. In June 2017, the NWAT hosted a nitrate mitigation workshop in Fairview. NWAP Nitrate Mitigation Workshop Agenda (June 2017)
Groundwater Use Regulations (Aquifer Maximum Annual Yield Implementation)
The Oklahoma State Legislature passed Senate Bill 1294 in May 2018. This ground-breaking legislation, carried to passage by Senator Roland Pederson, of Burlington, allows for phased implementation of the maximum annual yield (MAY) and equal proportionate share (EPS)—which determines how much water can be allocated from an aquifer per acre of overlying land—set through Oklahoma Water Resources Board hydrologic studies. As a result, should future studies determine that a new EPS is necessary to provide for reasonable regulation of a specific groundwater basin, implementation of the revised amount will only go into effect when the aquifer reaches 25 percent of its development. This new law diminishes the potential economic impact of sudden water supply reductions on those cities and farms that rely upon groundwater.
NWAP Launched August 21, 2014
Read Press Release: New Organization Launches Northwest Water Plan: August 21, 2014
NWAP Implementation Strategies & Issues
- Encourage innovative water strategies and policies to improve municipal water efficiency.
- Improve water system management through financial and technical support for region-wide water system audits, installation of Automated Meter Reading (AMR) systems, and leak detection/repair programs.
- Eliminate regulatory barriers that discourage water reuse.
- Support research to study the feasibility of advanced treatment of produced (oil field) water for irrigation and other beneficial uses.
- Update and optimize water treatment rules and regulations so that systems can more efficiently and reliably meet federal standards.
- Streamline the permitting process so that established nitrate treatment technologies can be more readily implemented.
- Identify additional and more appropriate sources of funding for water and wastewater infrastructure improvements.
- Encourage incentives for precision drip or sprinkler systems for appropriate crops.
- Extend the federal Environmental Quality Incentives Program to fund conversion from flood irrigation to more efficient practices.
- Facilitate sustainable groundwater management through phased implementation of the state’s maximum annual yield studies and institute a formal hydrologic study priority process that bases prioritization on local needs.
- Foster grass-roots Regional Water Planning in Oklahoma while supporting only limited and viable water transfer projects.
The NWAT meets quarterly to address emerging water-related issues and continued implementation of the NWAP’s near-, mid- and long-term strategies.
For more information or to join the implementation effort, contact Lisa Powell at 580-233-4232.