OKLAHOMA CITY – The statewide network of groundwater monitoring wells was increased recently when the City of Broken Arrow, the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, and Associated Environmental Industries partnered to drill a new groundwater monitoring well at Broken Arrow’s Verdigris Water Treatment Plant.
When completed, the well, on land donated by the City of Broken Arrow, will be added to the State of Oklahoma’s Groundwater Monitoring and Assessment Program (GMAP).
GMAP is an extensive network of approximately 750 wells that help monitor the water quantity and quality of the state’s 21 major aquifers and many minor ones.
MONITORING WELLS IN SW OKLAHOMA
More than 100 of those monitoring wells are in southwest Oklahoma, including:
• 19 in Tillman County, along the Red River and between US-183 and the North Fork of the Red River;
• Nine in Kiowa County;
• 1 in Cotton County, west of Walters and south of SH-5 about half a mile west of West Cache Creek;
• 11 in Jackson County;
• 17 in Harmon County;
• 15 in Greer County;
• 24 in Caddo County, including one approximately 10 miles west of Apache, north of SH-19 and south of County Road 1450, near East Cache Creek; one less than a mile northwest of Cyril in the watershed of the Little Washita River; and one four miles north of Cement near the East Fork of Delaware Creek;
• Four in Jefferson County: three near the Red River and one just north of US-70 approximately 23⁄4 miles southwest of Ringling;
• Seven in Grady County, including one a mile northwest of Rush Springs and just east of US-81; one southeast of Rush Springs near Taylor Lake, which is leased to the City of Marlow; and one Mountain Park OKs pumping station lease less than three miles south of Rush Springs, about half a mile west of US-81 on the east side of County Street 2820 and less than half a mile north of County Road 1580;
• Six in Comanche County: one in Geronimo; one approximately four miles northwest of Faxon, in the watershed of West Cache Creek; one just west of Goodyear Boulevard and north of Quanah Parker Trailway; one a mile and a half north of Sterling, near Beaver Creek; another northwest of Sterling, near Meers/Porter Hill Road and NE 210th Street; and one east of Fletcher, near the intersection of NE North Drive and NE 210th Street, less than a mile south of the Little Washita River.
GROUNDWATER VITAL FOR AGRICULTURE, DOMESTIC USE
Oklahoma’s ample groundwater resources, found largely in 21 major aquifers spread throughout the state, are critical to hundreds of thousands of lives and livelihoods. Groundwater is the primary water supply for approximately 300 Oklahoma communities and comprises 43% of the total water used in the state each year. In rural areas, groundwater supplies about 90% of the state’s irrigation needs.
According to the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB), the ultimate objective of GMAP is to sample every major aquifer in the state. Through quality analyses, the natural geochemistry of the aquifers is assessed to identify concerns. Water samples are taken from groundwater wells and analyzed for parameters such as nutrients, dissolved metals, alkalinity, hardness, dissolved oxygen, pH, and total dissolved solids.
GMAP examines the ambient quality and quantity of Oklahoma’s groundwater resources to identify areas that are impaired and improve understanding of the effects of seasonal, climatic, and usage patterns.
This data will aid water resource planners and managers in making informed decisions that ultimately result in improved sustainability of water supplies. Assessments of Oklahoma’s groundwater will be achieved through both a baseline monitoring network and a long-term (trend) monitoring network within each of the state’s major aquifers. This will provide Oklahoma with information on individual aquifer characteristics as well as a more general assessment.
“We’ve always said that you can’t manage something if you don’t measure it,” OWRB Executive Director Julie Cunningham said. “The data and information obtained through GMAP is critical to giving Oklahoma’s communities, rural water systems, and major industries the information they need to make critical long-term decisions for their citizens and businesses.”