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About OKWaterlaw

What are your water rights?  How do you apply to protect your water rights?  How do you perfect your water rights?



Article library

Upon enrolment you get a Primer on Water law. How the law developed in the United States and the current law in Oklahoma.

In addition, weekly or bi-weekly presentations of scholarly and professional articles regarding the history of water law and water rights, the laws of the different states, important federal and state court pending cases and decisions will be posted.

Hydro Politics

Actions affecting water law and rights in Congress.

Coverage of the Oklahoma Legislature in the interim and coverage of all water legislation during the actual session.

Coverage of State Agency and Board meetings.

Tips on working with legislators.

Bulletin Board

Posting of notices of state, regional and local meetings and other functions.

Notices of legislative meetings.




Why We're Here...

OKWaterlaw was developed by the Richard Wheatley Company to bring together information about water law, water rights and hydro politics so that Oklahoma water users could play an active part in finding the solutions to their individual problems.

What are your water rights? How do you apply to protect your water rights? How do you perfect your water rights?

What laws govern your use of water? Who owns the water on your property? What is the water worth? Will the Legislature change the law and declare water a commodity?

What is the difference between ground water, stream water and lake water? Is each type of water governed by the same law?

Hydro politics or the politics of water  -- who makes the laws governing our water? The Federal government, the state Legislature, counties, cities and/or towns?

Who will be setting the policies regarding the use and sale of our water in the future? How can you be a part of the policy making process?

The Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan will be presented in 2011. How could the plan impact you and your water rights?

What are your visions for Oklahoma water? Should it be like New Mexico where all water rights are vested in individual owners or is Oklahoma’s water owned by the State? Who gets the money?

How do past court cases stack up as precedent?

What are the rights of Native Americans? Will tribal sovereignty trump your rights and state rights?

Major aquifers extend across multiple state lines. Can other states pump water right out from under your land? What are the other states doing to protect their rights?

What happens during a draught? Could you be cut off from your water supply? Which end user is cut off first?

OKWaterlaw will answer some of these questions, direct you to experts who can answer other questions and put you on the front row of policy debates on the big issues.

As you can see, Oklahoma water law is the most disjunctive, disconnected, complex and incomplete law in existence.

There is about the same amount of water in the world as there has always been, however with development, increased population and pollution has dramatically decreased access to water.

Contact Information

Oklahoma Water Resources Board –
Department of Environmental Quality –
Department of Agriculture, Food and Forrestry – 
Department of Mines –
Oklahoma Corporation Commission –
The Oklahoma Conservation Commission –
The Office of the Attorney General –
The Office of the Governor –
The Legislative Service Bureau –www.
The Oklahoma State Senate –
The Oklahoma House of Representatives –
The Oklahoma Water Resources Research Institute –
The United States Geological Service –



From the Oklahoma Partnership for Public Deliberation
Shawnee, Oklahoma October 8th, 2009

Do you agree or disagree with the statements listed below?
• A free market for buying and selling water will only benefit those individuals and communities with greater economic power while continuing to hurt less-prosperous communities
• There is no way to force all Oklahoman’s to conserve water.
• Making major changes in Oklahoma’s waster law will only benefit urban areas.
• State-mandated water conservation across all areas will damage Oklahoma’s agricultural industry.
• There is no way to guarantee Oklahoma’s needs will be met if water is allowed to be sold out of state.
• Landowners should be able to maintain the rights to water flowing across or under their land.

Do you favor or oppose each of these actions?
• Allow the unrestricted sale of water rights.
• Require meters on all pumps permitted by the OWRB to measure water use and monitor water waste.
• Give the Oklahoma government the authority to determine the priority of use for all stream and groundwater in the state.
• Reduce government control on out-of-basin or out-of-state water sales.
• Recognize that policies should treat water less like oil and more like air, a necessity we have to have.
• Provide conservation incentives to the state’s largest water users.

Do you favor or oppose the statements listed below?
• We support allowing people to buy and sell water for any purpose they choose EVEN IF more water will be used for commercial, industrial or residential purposes.
• We are willing to decrease our use of water EVEN IF doing so will require more sacrifice on some people, areas and business sectors than others.
• We support allowing Oklahoman’s to set priorities for the state’s water EVEN IF it limits population growth or economic development