TULSA, Okla. – Insights into Oklahoma water issues will be presented at the concurrent 33rd Annual Oklahoma Governor’s Water Conference and 10th Annual Water Resources Research Symposium Nov. 13-14 at the Tulsa Marriott Southern Hills.
Early registration through Oct. 26 is $180 per participant, and $230 afterward. Students may attend for only $60. Although registration will be accepted at the door, online registration is available through Nov. 7 at https://www.owrb.ok.gov/apps/gwc/registration.aspx.
The concurrent conference and research symposium annually attracts hundreds of water officials, community leaders and private citizens who share an avid interest in Oklahoma’s water resources, and for good reason.
“Water touches many aspects of our lives every day; unfortunately, it can go largely unnoticed because water is abundant, inexpensive and reliable, and there are a few things on the horizon that may threaten those aspects,” said Mike Langston, assistant director of the Oklahoma Water Resources Research Institute at Oklahoma State University. “Water is too important to all of us not to be informed.”
The conference theme this year is water conservation. Participants will learn about innovative approaches to water conservation, how regional planning fits into the state’s water plan and the pros and cons of an environmental flows policy, among other high-priority topics.
“Environmental flows policy relates to the amount of water that is reserved for maintaining the health of aquatic ecosystems,” Langston said. “In Oklahoma, stream water is not normally reserved for this purpose, and all of the water in a stream potentially could be allocated to parties that might withdraw it. Several organizations in Oklahoma are promoting the idea of changing current policy.”
Another topic of interest to many is conjunctive management, which relates to the idea that groundwater and surface water are connected.
“This is important because current Oklahoma water law does not recognize that connection, with the exception of one aquifer,” Langston said. “Over the past few years, there has been a movement to better integrate our laws governing water use when it is underground and when it is in lakes and streams.”
Then there are the many recreational uses of Oklahoma’s water resources, interstate disputes and, of course, drought.
“From 1980 to 2010, Oklahoma experienced an unusually drought-free period,” Langston said. As the last two summers suggest, we may be moving into a period where that is not the case, and as water resources become scarce, those who have their needs met and those who don’t may well be affected by the state’s water policies.”
As for the scientific studies presented as part of the research symposium, Langston said people should not be hesitant to attend: A typical symposium session is a presentation by a researcher that is aimed at a lay audience.
“The researchers understand that most of their audience is not as familiar with the topic as they and so present it in appropriate terms,” he said. “The idea is to communicate and educate so that people can make informed decisions. Presenting the material in a way that is understandable by non-experts is a key component.”
One of the more popular aspects of the research symposium is the Student Poster Contest, wherein university students present their original research via posters.
“Every year, participants tell us that their interactions with these students are among the highlights of the event,” said Dave Engle, director of the Oklahoma State University Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources’ Water Research and Extension Center.
The event also will feature two nationally known writers, Cynthia Barnett and Dayton Duncan, who will enable participants to become better informed about water resources issues at the national level.
Additional information about the concurrent conference and symposium is available at http://www.owrb.ok.gov/news/waterconference.php#2012GWC via the Internet.
Agricultural Communications Services
143 Agriculture North
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078
Email: [email protected]
Oklahoma State University, U. S. Department of Agriculture, State and Local governments cooperating; Oklahoma State University in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age, religion, disability, or status as a veteran in any of its policies, practices, or procedures, and is an equal opportunity employer.