OWRB Prepares for Complicated Rulemaking Season
Author: Christie Southern
(eCap) The Oklahoma Water Resources Board is gearing up for a potentially complicated rulemaking season, officials with the agency say.
The agency embarked in 2016 on the process of setting rules for allowing and permitting projects to store water in the ground. This year they promulgated rules related to groundwater quality standards.
All this is the result of 2016 legislation directing the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to create a framework for aquifer storage and recovery. This was done in an effort to lessen the effects of Oklahoma's ongoing severe drought.
Though drought conditions are currently favorable after months of above average rainfall, according to the agency, OWRB will move on to the second, more complicated part of the two-piece legislation-recovery.
This year the agency is looking at joining for forces with the Department of Environmental Quality for permitting as well as promulgating rules on water quantity, according to OWRB Executive Director Julie Cunningham.
"So we're looking at water quality, what are the potential impacts to water quality of storing surface water underground, and now this year water quantity," Cunningham explained. "What's the quantity of water I can take out with a permit...and how is the water migrating through the ground through time?"
Cunningham said it's important to figure out if water storage underground would even still be available five years down the line for use.
"Those considerations are going to be pretty complicated this next rulemaking session," she said.
The agency will start the rulemaking process in the coming months. Proposed rules must be filed with the Oklahoma Secretary
of State on or before April 1of next year for legislative consideration in the 2018 legislative session.