Drought center of "Water Appreciation Day"Tue, 20 May 2014 17:53:31 CDT
Water is among Oklahoma's most precious resources. Earlier this week at the capital, organizations representing water users celebrated "Water Appreciation Day."
The Radio Oklahoma Network's Leslie Smith talked with Junior Welch of the Oklahoma Rural Water Association. (You can hear the feature below by clicking on the listen bar at the bottom of the story). Welch says the special day at the capital is an opportunity to interact with lawmakers. Wastewater Technican says their group works statewide with municipalities.
"We cater to small towns and communities with a population of 10 - thousand and under and we also provide support for rural water districts throughout the state, Welch said."
With 600 members throughout the state, their demand for their expertise is increasing with new federal environmental regulations.
"We help the system stay in compliance with those EPA regulations as they come down the wire and its pretty much a 24/7 job," Welch said.
The other major challenge is the on-going drought. While some parts of the state have gotten moisture events, the state remains drought stricken. In looking at future legislation, Welch says the state will need to balance the interests of water users.
"I think we really need to work real close with the ag industry and see if there is something we can do in that area," Welch said. "And also just as a state overall -- cities, towns, rural water districts, all of us, we need to be mindful of the situation we're in and put together the best conservation practices we can put together."
"We're in a seroius situation in the state of Oklahoma," he said. "Some parts of our state has a false sense of we're out of the drought. We've been getting a few rains in some areas , but we are by no means out of drought right now."
Welch says its time for Oklahomans to step up their water conservation efforts through the state.
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