State water agency officials, along with policy and planning specialists, will be on hand May 3 in Tulsa and May 4 in Grove, to share early findings from the 2012 Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan (OCWP) Update.

The OCWP Middle Arkansas Region planning sessions will be held May 3 at the OSU-Tulsa campus (B.S. Roberts Room) in Tulsa, and the Grand meeting on May 4 at Grove City Hall (Community Room),. The meetings will be hosted by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB), the state agency responsible for coordinating the update,

and Oklahoma Water Resources Research Institute (OWRRI), which was contracted to coordinate the OCWP public participation process. At each meeting location, a technical session will be held from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. to share information on local

water supply systems, infrastructure and related issues. A separate evening session, from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m., will focus on proposed state water policy, specifically draft recommendations derived from the public, water user groups, and experts.

The interim OCWP draft was officially released by the OWRB in early April for public review and comment. Completed drafts of OCWP Watershed Planning Region Reports, which detail current water use as well as future usage scenarios and options to address water issues, are also currently available on the OWRB’s website at www.owrb.ok.gov/ocwp;all of those reports will be available for review

in advance of regional meetings.

According to J.D. Strong, OWRB Executive Director, these technical reports are the first of their kind. "Collectively, the Watershed Planning Region Reports are an invaluable

planning tool that will eventually benefit virtually every Oklahoman in establishing reliable and beneficial water supplies. Each report has been carefully designed to allow the water system manager, farmer, irrigator, industrial operator, business owner, and casual citizen to make intelligent and informed decisions concerning the use and sustainability of our most precious natural resource," he says.

The OWRB encourages those planning to attend the meetings to review beforehand

the draft report and associated documents, which present fifty-year projections of water use in the state’s planning regions, options to meet forecasted deficits in supply or related problems, and dozens of water policy recommendations developed by both Oklahoma citizens and stakeholders that will be submitted to the State Legislature upon the plan’s conclusion in February 2012.

These regional feedback and implementation meetings are scheduled throughout the state in April and May as part of the final stage of the OCWP’s unprecedented public participation process.

In addition to providing citizens with an opportunity to comment on the recommended

policy actions and technical water information contained in the draft OCWP documents and reports, the public will be encouraged to suggest the most practical methods to accomplish those initiatives. Both the afternoon technical session and evening water policy session will utilize an informal format that facilitates more engaging personal contact and information exchange between the public and staff of the OWRB, OWRRI and CDM, the OCWP’s lead engineering firm, who will be available to talk with citizens and answer specific questions about regional and state water concerns. Meetings are open to citizens from any region of the state. The public may also submit comments through the OWRRI’s website at http://okwaterplan. info, email at waterplan@okstate.edu, or by calling 405-744-9994.

For more information on the OCWP, visit the OWRB’s website at www.owrb.ok.gov or call the OWRB at 405-530-8800.