The Pryor Times

Opinion

May 17, 2012

Water use in Oklahoma

For the past several years, we have been working with local and state organizations, including municipal, county, and Tribal governments on the issue of water in the 21st century and beyond. It is one of the most complex issues before us—but one thing we know for certain is there is no new water.  Whatever we have on the planet right now is all we will ever have. As increased populations and expanded commercial use of water continue to push demands, the crucial need for greater conservation efforts and new approaches to water use is abundantly clear.

With that goal in mind, this past week I supported Senate Joint Resolution 91, which seeks to recommend rules created by the Department of Environmental Quality on water reuse. The Reuse Group also was attended by DEQ and experts in the field of water re-use along with input from OWRB with the goal of determining the best path for the development of Oklahoma-specific reuse rules.

To be very specific, this concerns ways in which highly treated effluent, or sewage waste-water, can be reused—not for human consumption but for other applications. Just one example of this might be for watering municipal golf courses, parks, or other similar assets. I want to stress this program would only be for communities that wanted to participate in this type of reuse—it would strictly be on a voluntary basis.

This kind of reuse of water has been done in other states for years. By finding safe applications for the reuse of this type of water, we are helping guarantee greater supplies of water for both consumption and for other uses. We can continue to maximize our economic development efforts with a lower impact on water availability and shortages.

The rules included specific treatment technologies, monitoring parameters, and other guidelines to ensure maximum safety and benefit for the communities opting for this supplemental source of water. The measure has been approved by the Senate and is now awaiting further consideration in the House of Representatives.

There is no new water—being good stewards of this resource and utilizing new scientific approaches will enable us to ensure what we have will address our needs, now and in the future.

Thanks again for reading my “Senate Review.” If you have any questions on a legislative matter, please do not hesitate to contact my Senate office at the Capitol by calling (405) 521-5555 or writing me with your concerns at: Senator Sean Burrage, 2300 North Lincoln Blvd. Rm. 529-B State Capitol Building, Oklahoma City, OK 73105. I always enjoy hearing from my constituents and consider it an honor to be your voice in the Oklahoma State Senate. May God bless each of you.

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