Will Central and Southwest Oklahoma Have Enough Clean Water?The Garber-Wellington and Rush Springs Aquifer Studies addresses growing concerns about the future of water availability in central and southwest Oklahoma.
Many metro-area cities, including Norman, Edmond, Nichols Hills and Midwest City, rely either solely or partly on ground water from the Garber-Wellington Aquifer. This water body, also known as the Central Oklahoma aquifer, underlies almost 3,000 square miles of the state. A team of scientists from the USGS, Oklahoma Water Resources Board, Association of Central Oklahoma Governments, Oklahoma Geological Survey and Tinker Air Force Base have been collaborating and sharing data to better understand this vital aquifer. A regional model will be used to predict the impacts of long-term ground water withdrawals and simulate water-management strategies
Scientists are conducting a pump test at a municipal ground water well within the city of Norman from Mar. 1- 14. The well will be monitored while being shut off and pumped to determine flow and storage properties of the aquifer. The test also will be a teaching opportunity for select Oklahoma State University students. This study is part of a USGS and Oklahoma Water Resources Board multi-year cooperative Garber-Wellington Water Management Study.
The Rush Springs Aquifer supplies 10 percent of the Oklahoma’s ground water resources. The aquifer provides irrigation water for productive cropland and livestock operations in southwest Oklahoma.
Both of these aquifers have areas with elevated concentrations of potentially harmful, yet naturally occurring metals such as arsenic, chromium and uranium. The USGS is working with tribal, state and local governments in Oklahoma to determine where those metals occur in greater concentrations. USGS also has worked with the Environmental Protection Agency and the City of Norman to develop treatment methods. This information can be used by the public so they can avoid drinking potentially harmful water or use treatment methods to reduce concentrations of these metals to prevent exceedance of drinking water standards.