Researchers look to collect, store state's rainwater

Wednesday, August 20th 2008, 5:51 pm
By: News 9

By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A new study deemed Water Band, is researching new ways to bank Oklahoma's water to prevent a potential shortage.

The Chickasaw Nation, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University and the National Weather Center are all participating in the project.

"We want to have basically a drought-proof water supply," Hydro meteorologist Suzanne Van Cooten said.

As part of the study, Van Cooten and the team focused on the Arbuckle Simpson Aquifer in southern Oklahoma.

They plan to track where the rain falls, developing a strategy on how to capture, store, and later use the collected water.

"If we're going to have runoff, why can't we capture it in order to basically bank that water and use that water to create a sustainable water supply?" Van Cooten said.

Kelly Hurt of the Chickasaw Nation said Oklahoma can develop a water storage program based on models by other states.

The researchers are considering underground storage because 70 percent of the water above ground in lakes evaporates before Oklahoma can use it.

The project is not yet completely funded. It will take two years to collect information and begin creating a structured plan to collect and store the water.