A ruling by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board regarding groundwater in south-central Oklahoma could make it even less likely that surface water in the state ever gets piped elsewhere.
The board last week placed a new annual cap on the amount of water that can be taken from the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer. The new cap will be one-tenth the amount that had historically been allowed. The aim with the new standard is to ensure the continued flow of springs and streams to local tourist destinations, and also to provide enough water to Ada, Ardmore and other cities now using it.
This ratcheting down of the amount that can be taken cripples plans by cities in Canadian County to get access to water from the aquifer. A proposed sale of water to those cities is what prompted an outcry a decade ago and led the Legislature to approve a moratorium on such sales until the water resources board could conduct studies to determine how much water could be taken from the aquifer without hurting the natural flow of streams and springs.
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