OK Water Plan October Newsletter

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Action Items

EVERYONE should take the Public Survey: the OCWP Public Outreach Survey is estimated to take between 10 to 15 minutes to complete. This is your opportunity to share your priorities, concerns, and suggestions on how the OCWP can provide value to you. Please share this link with a friend, a colleague, and your social media connections!

Utility Providers: The Water Supply and Infrastructure Needs Survey (WSINS) provides critical technical information necessary to understand local needs, develop potential water management solutions, and support efforts to secure additional funding. If you work for a public water provider (municipal or rural water) and have not already completed this survey, please fill it out by October 31!  If you have questions or need help, don’t hesitate to contact Owen Mills at 405.530.8904.

Submit a nomination for Water for 2060 Excellence Award! Select Agriculture, Municipal or Energy/Industry category then answer two questions. Get inspired by checking out previous Water for 2060 Excellence Award winners.

Sunset photo of Lake Overholser bridge

US Route 66 over Lake Overholser in Oklahoma City, OK

The OCWP is taking on social media!
Like or Follow the Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan on Facebook! Keep up with the OCWP and related activities & funding opportunities across the state and the nation!  Or you can find our Facebook feed, Survey Links, and more on the OWRB Water Planning page!

Round 2 Regional Meetings!!

Save the dates! 
We heard a lot of the problems, now let's roll up our sleeves and start solving them!

The Oklahoma Water Resources Board is pleased to announce the second round in our series of stakeholder input meetings at new locations across the state. The upcoming meetings will build on the first round of meetings held in August. The agenda for each meeting is still being developed and may vary based on locally identified water challenges.

Each Round 2 meeting is scheduled from 1:00–4:00 pm.
While anyone may attend, we request participation from local officials, water utility suppliers, regulated industry, commercial agricultural producers, economic development entities, and representing organizations.

Meeting Schedule:

December 5 | NW - Panhandle State University, Student Union Ballroom | 323 Eagle Blvd., Goodwell, OK 73939

December 11 | SW - Cameron University, McMahon Centennial Complex, McAsland Ballroom | 2800 W. Gore Blvd., Lawton, OK 73505

December 12 | SE - Kiamichi Technology Center, Conference Room A/B | 13739 SE 202nd Rd., Talihina, OK 74571

December 13 | NE - Cherokee  Chota Center | 3307 Seven Clans Ave., Tahlequah, OK 74464

December 14 | Central - Francis Tuttle Technology Center - Portland Campus | 3500 NW 150th St, Oklahoma City, OK 73134

Justice40 Initiative - Opportunities!

Federal agencies now have a goal that 40 percent of the overall benefits from select Federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities. This is known as the Justice40 InitiativeMany Oklahoma communities are eligible! 

One exciting new opportunity comes from the Army Corps of Engineers in their Planning Assistance to States and Tribes program paid at 100%!!  

Many other federal programs are part of Justice40 Initiative as well such NRCS (RCPP, EQIP), FSA, Rural Development, as well as the Oklahoma's State Revolving Loan programs (DWSRF and CWSRF) through the Environmental Protection Agency.  

Funding Resources

The Oklahoma Forestry Services are accepting applications for 2023 Community Wildfire Defense Grants. Details and applications are available at grants.gov (search keyword CWDG). Deadline for applications is 10:59 p.m. central on October 31, 2023. Please contact Eric Ashlock, Oklahoma Forestry Services Community Wildfire Defense Grant Coordinator, at eric.ashlock@ag.ok.gov or 405.823.7393.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has announced the following funding opportunities.

Drought Resiliency Projects: Eligible activities include infrastructure improvements, groundwater recovery, decision support tools, modeling and measurement, and domestic water supply projects. Awards are up to $10 million per agreement. In general, a non-federal cost-share of at least 50% is required, yet Domestic Water Supply Projects for Tribes or disadvantaged communities require only a 5% non-federal cost-share that may be reduced or waived. The funding opportunity announcement R24AS00007 is available by clicking here. Applications are due October 31, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. central.

Planning & Project Design Grants: Eligible activities include planning to improve water supplies and management solutions, the design of projects to improve water management, and the development of a new or update an existing of drought contingency plan. Awards are up $400,000 per agreement. Non-federal cost-share ranges from 0 percent to 50 percent depending on project type. The funding opportunity R23AS00109 is available by clicking here. First application period due date is October 17, 2023, by 5:00 p.m. central and second application period due date is April 2, 2024, by 5:00 p.m. central.

Cooperative Watershed Management Program Phase I: Eligible activities include watershed group development, restoration planning, and watershed management project design. Awards are up to $300,000 per agreement. A non-federal cost-share is not required for this funding opportunity. The funding opportunity announcement R23AS00362 is available by clicking here. First application period due date is December 5, 2023, by 5:00 p.m. central and second application period due date is September 3, 2024, by 5:00 p.m. central.

Aquatic Ecosystems Restoration Projects: Eligible activities include the study, design, and construction of projects that restore or protect aquatic ecosystems. Awards are up to $20 million per agreement. A non-federal cost-share of at least 35% is required. The funding opportunity announcement R23AS00106 is available by clicking here. Second application period due date is January 24, 2024, by 5:00 p.m. central.

All funding opportunities can be found at www.grants.gov by searching for the funding opportunity numbers with additional details at https://www.usbr.gov/watersmart/ or you can reach out to Collins Balcombe in Reclamation’s Oklahoma/Texas Area office at 512-899-4162 or cbalcombe@usbr.gov.

The Emergency Drought Commission met September 19, 2023, and voted to release all remaining funding allocated to the current Emergency Drought Cost-Share Program. All actions of the commission are pending approval by Governor Kevin Stitt. Check the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry’s Oklahoma Emergency Drought Commission web page for more updates.

Upcoming Activities

Southwest Section of American Water Works Association (SWAWWA) Annual Conference and Exposition will be October 15-17, 2023, in Lafayette, LA. SWAWWA consists of water professionals in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Several familiar faces represent Oklahoma as part of the SWAWWA leadership including Eric Lee, City of Tulsa; Melissa Gray, City of Tulsa; Lou Ann Fisher, City of Broken Arrow; and Lars Ostervald, Jacobs. The annual conference agenda includes 27 great technical presentations ranging from Cybersecurity to Data Systems for Billing and Asset Management. Other highlights include the Top Ops Contest where 5 teams will compete for the SWAWWA title and a chance to compete at the national conference next June, the Water Taste Contest, and the Water for People Fundraiser.

On October 19 (in person social), November 16, January 18, February 15, April 18, and May 16 (in person social) the Oklahoma Water Resources Center presents a water seminar series called “Water You Talking About?” These seminars will be held in hybrid format, allowing for both in-person interactions as well as participation by those interested but not located in or near Stillwater to participate.

November 8-9, the Oka’ Institute will host OKA CON 2023 Uniting for Water: A Collaborative Approach to Integrated Water Resource Management (formerly known as the Sustainability Conference) in Ada. This conference aims to bring together experts from various fields to discuss the challenges and opportunities in integrated water resource management. Keynote speakers, panel discussions, and interactive sessions will explore topics such as sustainable water management, innovative technologies, and policy frameworks.

2023 Oklahoma Governor’s Water Conference & Research Symposium will be held November 29-30 in Norman. Topics will include: Water Plan update! Maximizing Groundwater Resources! Infrastructure Investment! and many current water issues and policies will be discussed by state, federal, and local experts. The Student Research Water Poster Competition, held concurrently, offers students from any institution of higher learning in Oklahoma the opportunity to share research or extension/outreach topics related to water resources in Oklahoma.

Closing Thoughts

The OCWP team has been so intrigued by the stories and challenges we have heard thus far through our recent engagement efforts! And we have so much enjoyed getting to know so many of you.  We hope you'll keep coming, learning, and sharing with others.

If you didn’t make it to the Round 1 meetings, join us for Round 2 in early December. And if you did make it, keep coming! Nothing as complex as water gets solved over one meeting. We've heard some of the problems, now let's drill down and start solving them!

To be successful, this series of meetings, by design, needs your continued input and experience with each successive meeting to build workable local and statewide solutions. We’ll do the heavy lifting, but we need your experience & talent from within the trenches, to attend these meetings, bring your colleagues, get to know this accomplished team of professionals, and dig in so that we can effectively seek solutions for your communities together!

My best regards to each and every one of you,

Owen Mills | Director of Water Planning Oklahoma Water Resources Board