OK Water Plan March 2024 Newsletter

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OCWP Newsletter March 2024
Action Items

How concerned are you about drinking water quality in your county area?  Add your voice to the OCWP Public Water Survey!

water survey

The OCWP Survey is estimated to take between 10 and 15 minutes to complete. Take this opportunity to share your priorities, concerns, and how the OCWP can provide value to you. Please share this link with a friend, a colleague, and your social media connections!

Oklahoma Public Water Providers please complete the Local Projects and Programs Survey (or email Owen Mills your capital improvement plan) to help us better define the capital costs needed to address water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure .

Downtown Oklahoma City Skyline at night.

This month’s newsletter highlights upcoming OCWP meetings, several national water items including funding for Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds and the Water Policy Fly-In to Washington DC scheduled for April 9. Our state will host Water Day at the Capitol on April 29. Make plans to join us and other agencies by visiting with legislators about the water topics that are most important to you.

Round 3 Regional Water Meetings Coming Soon!

For Round 3 public meetings we'll be talking with participants about our new water supply and demand projections thru 2075! Water Quality Trends and of course drilling down on local issues. Dates and locations for the Round 3 Regional Meetings for Mid-April thru May are being finalized. Join in the conversation! Look for more information soon!
Summaries of Round 1 and 2 are found on OWRB’s water planning webpage under Public Meetings link.

Congress Releases 2024 Appropriations Bill for the USEPA and USBR

On March 3, the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committees released a “minibus” appropriations bill, which includes 6 of the 12 bills that will fund the federal government in fiscal year 2024, which began on October 1, 2023. The appropriations bill for Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, which funds the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs), is included in the package (SRF funding begins on page 547). 

The legislation would require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to submit a plan to address the backlog of congressional earmarks to the Appropriations Committees within 90 days of enactment. The legislation prohibits federal funding from being obligated until the plan is received and accepted.

The bill maintains topline funding from 2023 and continues to use the SRF capitalization grant to pay for congressional earmarks, which are listed in the accompanying Committee Report.


  • Maintains mandates that the Clean Water SRFs use 10% of their annual federal funding and the Drinking Water SRFs use 14% of their annual federal funding for additional subsidy in the form of grants, principal forgiveness, or negative interest loans for any eligible applicant.
  • Maintains mandate that the Clean Water SRFs use 10% of their annual federal funding for green projects as long as there are eligible applications consistent with the Intended Use Plan.

Additionally, the package includes:

  • $20 million for the Title XVI-WIIN Water Reuse Grants Program
  • $19 million for the Desalination and Water Purification Grants Program

Funding Resources

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

  • WaterSMART for Small Scale Water Efficiency Projects – Eligible projects include canal lining/piping, municipal metering, irrigation flow measurement, SCADA, landscape irrigation measures, high-efficiency indoor appliances and fixtures, and commercial cooling systems. Maximum award amount of $100,000. Application period 2 deadline is July 9, 2024, Application period 3 deadline is January 14, 2025, and Application period 4 deadline is July 8, 2025. This notice of funding opportunity announcement is available at grants.gov by searching for funding opportunity R24AS00059 or by clicking here.
  • WaterSMART for Water and Energy Efficiency- Projects should conserve and use water more efficiently (e.g., flow measurement, metering, delivery improvements, canal lining, etc.); increase production of renewable energy (e.g., hydropower, solar, wind energy, etc.); mitigate risks of water conflict; and/or accomplish other benefits that contribute to water supply reliability in the western United States. More details on eligible projects are outlined in Section C.4. of the funding opportunity. The second application period closes on October 30, 5:00 pm. This notice of funding opportunity announcement is available at grants.govby searching for funding opportunity number R24AS00052 or by clicking here.  Learn more about the Water and Energy Efficiency Grants at https://www.usbr.gov/watersmart/weeg/index.html.
  • Title XVI WIIN Act Water Reclamation and Reuse Projects - Eligible activities include planning, design, and construction of water reclamation and reuse facilities. The funding opportunity announcement R23AS00464 is available by . Applications are due September 30, 2024 at 5:00 p.m.
  • Desalination Construction Projects Under the WIIN Act – Eligible activities include planning, design, and construction of facilities to desalinate seawater or brackish surface water or groundwater. The funding opportunity announcement R23AS00465 is available by . Applications are due September 30, 2024 at 5:00 p.m

Upcoming Activities

 Water You Talking About? monthly water seminar series from Oklahoma Water Resources Center resumes on April 18. Find out more and register here.

FREE Private well testing! Find out more about the Oklahoma Well Owner Network here.

2024 Ogallala Aquifer Summit will be held at the Seward County Fairgrounds in Liberal, KS on March 18-19. is event brings people together from across Ogallala region and beyond to learn from each other’s work to manage water and agriculture for community, ecosystem, and economic vitality

National Water Week event invites water professionals from across the nation to help advance key water policy priorities such as sustained growth in federal infrastructure investment, addressing water affordability, supporting water research & development and advancing sound science-based solutions, and making our critical infrastructure more resilient. The Water Environment Federation, WateReuse Association, American Water Works Association, and other organizations participate, offering an opportunity for water professionals to speak to decision makers in Congress about issues important to the water sector. Maximize your time in DC by scheduling meetings for the morning of April 9 and April 10 with your Congressional representatives and other policymakers to advocate for the water sector. Key activities include:

  • April 8, National Stormwater Policy Forum (WEF)
  • April 9, National Water Policy Fly-In (WEF and WateReuse)
  • April 10-11, Onsite Water Reuse Summit (WateReuse)

If you can’t make the trip to Washington DC, consider becoming a WEF Water Advocate. It is a grassroots advocacy program that makes it easy for WEF members to engage with their federal elected officials on matters of importance to the water sector. Membership is free and you will raise your profile among your water professional colleagues as a champion for our sector.

Water Appreciation Day at the state Capitol is April 29
2nd Floor Rotunda. This event brings together local, state, and federal agencies and other water-centric organizations to celebrate and share with our leadership on the management and protection Oklahoma's most valuable natural resource.

Closing Thoughts

All the pieces are coming together now!  Modeling gathered data, developing projections on supply and demand across the state, trends analyses on water quality, infrastructure needs, and more presented in concert with each round of public input, learning about local problems all together equips the OWRB to evaluate and express your water challenges to our state and local leadership. We are very excited in Round 3 to share this information our team has worked so hard to put together. We hope you'll join us in telling your story!

Best regards to each and every one of you,

Owen Mills | Director of Water Planning Oklahoma Water Resources Board 405.530.8904 Office | 405.421.4127 Cell Owen.mills@owrb.ok.gov