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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: LONG-TERM VARIABILITY OF OKLAHOMA PRECIPITATION AND WATER RESOURCES AVAILABILITY

Authors
item Garbrecht, Jurgen
item Schneider, Jeanne

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: September 20, 2004
Publication Date: November 18, 2004
Citation: Garbrecht, J.D., Schneider, J.M. 2004. Long-term variability of Oklahoma precipitation and water resources availability. In: Proceedings of the Oklahoma Water 2004 Conference, October 29-30, 2003, Stillwater, Oklahoma. 2003&2004 CDROM.

Interpretive Summary: Persistent wet and dry climatic conditions that last years-to-decades are recurring phenomena in the Great Plains and Oklahoma. Dry periods of long duration can have sizable societal, economic, environmental, and political impacts. Thus, it is important to identify persistent precipitation variations, determine their impact on water availability, and recognize the benefits of accounting for such variations in planning and administration of Oklahoma's water resources. An unusually wet period prevailed in the last two decades of the 20th century over many parts of Oklahoma. In recent years, this wet period showed declining tendencies, and in some cases precipitation conditions have already returned to more average conditions encountered prior to the 1980's. A strong correlation was shown to exist between lasting dry and wet periods, and streamflow in the Blue River Basin and groundwater levels in the Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer. In light of these persistent precipitation variations and their impact on water resources, a procedure is proposed to identify the level of uncertainty and risk associated with expectations and decisions related to water availability. As Oklahoma updates its comprehensive water plan, the challenge will be to find ways to meet the evolving water demand of the state for the next decades within the limits, variability, uneven distribution, and uncertainty of available water.

Technical Abstract: Persistent wet and dry climatic conditions that last years-to-decades are recurring phenomena in the Great Plains and Oklahoma. Dry periods of long duration can have sizable societal, economic, environmental, and political impacts. Thus, it is important to identify persistent precipitation variations, determine their impact on water availability, and recognize the benefits of accounting for such variations in planning and administration of Oklahoma's water resources. An unusually wet period prevailed in the last two decades of the 20th century over many parts of Oklahoma. In recent years, this wet period showed declining tendencies, and in some cases precipitation conditions have already returned to more average conditions encountered prior to the 1980's. A strong correlation was shown to exist between lasting dry and wet periods, and streamflow in the Blue River Basin and groundwater levels in the Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer. In light of these persistent precipitation variations and their impact on water resources, a procedure is proposed to identify the level of uncertainty and risk associated with expectations and decisions related to water availability. As Oklahoma updates its comprehensive water plan, the challenge will be to find ways to meet the evolving water demand of the state for the next decades within the limits, variability, uneven distribution, and uncertainty of available water.

Last Modified: 9/1/2014
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