State Board Releases Detailed Water Data in Oklahoma Lakes and Well Sites

The Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) water monitoring staff announced the release of the agency’s 2017 Beneficial Use Monitoring Program (BUMP) reports providing detailed physical, chemical, and biological water data from approximately 1,300 stream, lake, and groundwater well sites across Oklahoma.

Created in 1998, BUMP provides data necessary for water quality management decisions by identifying impairments to the “beneficial uses” of Oklahoma’s water resources, as well as determining causes for those water quality impairments.
Oklahoma’s “beneficial uses” form the backbone of the state’s Water Quality Standards, and are assigned to individual lakes, streams, and stream segments based upon the primary public benefits derived from those waters. Currently recognized beneficial uses of Oklahoma water include public and private water supply, fish and wildlife propagation, agriculture, primary body contact recreation (such as swimming), secondary body contact recreation (such as boating or fishing), navigation, and aesthetics.

“The BUMP water quality annual reports are the culmination of a year’s worth of field and lab work,” said OWRB Executive Director Julie Cunningham. “The OWRB’s monitoring programs exist due to the vital economic and social importance of Oklahoma’s lakes, streams, wetlands, and aquifers as well as the associated need for their protection and management.”

The water data contained in the OWRB’s annual BUMP report is collected from about 130 lakes and 100 stream segments at approximately 600 sites throughout Oklahoma. The Groundwater Monitoring and Assessment Program (GMAP), added to BUMP in 2012, consists of a network of approximately 750 wells in Oklahoma’s 21 major aquifers, where the OWRB monitors both water levels and water quality.

“Oklahomans can be proud of the scientific expertise, professionalism, and dedication of the OWRB’s water quality standards staff and water monitoring teams. The BUMP monitors are out sampling during all sorts of conditions, year-round, to make sure Oklahoma’s water planners have the comprehensive water quality data they need,” said Bill Cauthron, chief of the OWRB’s Water Quality division.

For lake sampling, generally a minimum of three to five stations per lake are sampled depending on the size of the reservoir. Sampling stations are located to represent multiple zones of the lake with additional sites on many reservoirs as necessary. The stream monitoring network consists of permanent sampling stations in each of the state’s 82 water planning basins, as outlined by the Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan, and a smaller network of additional reference sites. Assessing Oklahoma’s groundwater is achieved through both a baseline monitoring network and a long-term (trend) monitoring network within each of the state’s 21 major aquifers. This provides information on individual aquifer characteristics as well as a more general assessment of the Oklahoma’s groundwater.

The 2017 lakes, streams, and groundwater BUMP reports are available on the OWRB website. Each stream, lake, and well site featured in the report includes a detailed fact sheet and map of data collection sites.

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