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Agricultural News

Oklahoma Water Town Hall Meeting Kicks Off Sunday in Norman

Sat, 22 May 2010 7:21:20 CDT

Oklahoma Water Town Hall Meeting Kicks Off Sunday in Norman The state of Oklahoma is just a few days away from finally having a Fifty Year Water Plan on paper- at least a true "first draft" of that plan, after several years of meetings and thousands of manhours invested. The Oklahoma Academy of State Goals has organized this multi year process that has included district meetings, regional meetings, a couple of statewide conferences and now what is being called the Oklahoma Water Town Hall. This grand finale gets underway on Sunday afternoon, May 23- and will continue through Wednesday afternoon, May 26.

In 2006, the state legislature directed the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) to update the state's comprehensive water plan. The update, which began in Jan. 2007, includes in-depth technical studies and, for the first time, substantial public input.

Terry Detrick, President of the American Farmers & Ranchers, is one of about 180 state leaders that will be in these final sessions, helping draft what will end up being the first draft of the Comprehensive Water Plan for Oklahoma by Wednesday. Others from agriculture include leadership from the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Oklahoma Cattlemen, Oklahoma Pork Council, Oklahoma Cotton Council and the Oklahoma Conservation community. Among the rural leaders that will be involved are Chris Hitch from Guymon, Bob Drake of Davis, Jimmy Kinder of Walters, Roy Lee Lindsey with the Oklahoma Pork Council, JT Winters of Mooreland and Tom Buchanan of Altus.

Detrick tells us that there are some big issues that have yet to be resolved that need to be a part of the final report. Those issues include private property rights in relationship to ownership of groundwater here in the state, surface water rights and potential sales either in state or out of state, tribal rights to water ownership and how to prioritize various uses of water.

Subjects that the 180 participants will sort through in this crucial meeting of the process will include water conservation, land use practices, the funding and sustaining of water programs, the relationship between surface and ground water, water sales and transfers and how to balance the wants and needs of the various regions of the state. Out of this meeting will come a draft plan, which will be given to the Oklahoma Water Resources Board for them to develop the final draft. Next spring, the OWRB will hold 11 regional meetings to get one last round of input from across the state- and a plan will then finally go to the Legislature and Governor in 2011.

Click here for the website that has been developed to showcase this multi year effort.

Click on the Listen Bar below to hear our preview of these sessions with Terry Detrick.


Ron Hays talks with Terry Detrick of AFR about the efforts to develop a Comprehensive Water Plan for Oklahoma
right-click to download mp3


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