Change in State water rules could impact farming and oil and gas industries

The Oklahoma Water Resources Board took action this week expanding the kind of water that can be used for commercial and industrial purposes.

It now includes what is described as marginal, brackish groundwater and is considered an important move that will aid the oil and gas drilling industry in the state.

The rule change also makes such water available for agricultural purposes and could have an important if not critical impact on farming and ranching. The change still must be approved by the state legislature and Gov. Kevin Stitt.

As noted by the Resources Board in its rules, “The proposed rules should have very little to no negative effect on the public health,
safety and environment. Section 785:30-5-10 will provide protection for existing groundwater users.”

Here’s how the proposed rule is shown:

The addition of a new section in 785:30-5-10, relating to marginal water permits. This new section is necessary to conform the administrative rules to recent statutory changes authorizing the Board to monitor and regulate marginal water wells.
An amendment to 785:30-3-1 to remove a limitation to the number of wells per 100 acre feet of water requested. The proposed amendment is intended to remove language not required by statute regarding the number of wells per 100 acre feet of water requested.

The OWRB’s Chief of Planning and Management Division, Kent Wilkins, presented on the proposed amendments and highlighted any changes that were made following the public comments that were submitted to the agency.

The Board ultimately voted to approved each of the various Rules proposals which will now be considered by the Oklahoma State Legislature.

Click here to gain access to the proposed rules.