McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

State House

October 24, 2013

State board establishes maximum annual yield for aquifer

(Continued)

Ada — Challenging the numbers

Critics challenged the board’s decision to cap the amount of groundwater that permit holders can take out of the aquifer each year — a number known as the equal proportionate share.

Previous regulations allowed permit holders to withdraw 2 acre feet of water from the aquifer each year, said Mark Walker, an attorney who represents several organizations opposed to the new limits. He said the OWRB’s order, which cuts that number to 0.20 acre feet per acre per year, equals a 90 percent reduction in the right to use groundwater.

Walker complained that the OWRB failed to explain why it settled on 0.20 acre feet as the new limit.

“Nowhere in the order does it say, ‘We’re finding .2 acre feet is the right number because of this,’” he said.

James Barnett with the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer Protection Federation said the order will force individual landowners to give up the rights to their groundwater.

“We believe that that’s just fundamentally unfair,” he said.

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