Oklahoma Water Resources Center
The Water Resources Research Act of 1964 authorized the establishment of a water resources research and technology institute or center at a land-grant university in each state. As a result of the Water Resources Act, the Oklahoma Water Resources Research Institute (OWRRI, currently known as the Oklahoma Water Resources Center) was founded in 1965 at Oklahoma State University. Although headquartered at OSU, the Oklahoma Water Resources Center serves the entire state of Oklahoma. The Center strives to help Oklahoma achieve high levels of water quality and sustainable use of our region’s water through integrated programs of research, education, training, and technology assistance.
Our Water Research Advisory Board decides which projects submitted for funding best suit the state's needs. This Advisory Board met December 19, 2016 to hear proposals from four faculty and five student researchers. Following the presentations Board representatives selected three projects for 2016 funding through the 104(b) Oklahoma Competitive Research Grants. Below are the recipients with brief descriptions of their projects.
|Utilizing native isopods to assess the connectivity and quality of Oklahoma groundwater
(Ronald Bonett and Alexander Hess)
Due to their abundance, ease of collection, and wide distribution, aquatic isopods provide excellent utility for mapping watershed connectivity. Stream surveys have found isopods to be one of the most common benthic invertebrates, allowing for rapid detection and robust data collection. Further, groundwater isopods are distinct in appearance from surface counterparts, due to a loss of pigmentation and elongation of appendages. Lastly, isopod species are detritivores, filling a key trophic level in the nutrient cycling of groundwater systems and acting as bio-accumulators of waste products.
|Quantifying sedimentation in upstream flood control reservoirs across Oklahoma
(Ron Miller, Lucie Guertault, and Chris Stoner)
More than 2100 upstream flood control structures have been built in Oklahoma by the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) since the late 1940’s to retain floodwaters in upper watersheds during heavy rainstorms and reduce flood damages downstream. Most of these structures have been constructed with a 50-year design life, including 50 years of sediment storage. A large number are approaching or have exceeded their design life, causing a growing concern. One main concern is related to the continuous filling of reservoirs by sediment detached from the watershed and unstable stream channels and transported during rainstorms.
|The Impact of Drought on Vegetation Water Use in Different Climatic Divisions across Oklahoma
(Kul Bikram Khand with Dr. Saleh Taghvaeian)
Water consumed by vegetation is a major component of surface water budget, having a significant impact on water availability at variable scales. The state of Oklahoma lies between eastern humid and western semi-arid climates with nine climatic divisions delineated based on precipitation and temperature gradients. These climatic differences impact the water use by different vegetation. At the same time, the vegetation water use behavior is impacted by weather extremes such as drought. Therefore, understanding the complex and spatially variable interactions among vegetation water use, climatic conditions, and drought can provide decision maker with critical information required to develop and optimize water management plans to conserve available water resources for agricultural and natural ecosystems.
|Economics of Groundwater Interaction between Producers and Competing Crops
(Karthik Ramaswamy with Dr. Art Stoecker)
The project will estimate the benefits and costs from use of the remaining groundwater in Oklahoma Panhandle when multiple producers compete for a common groundwater source. In most parts of the southern Great Plains, the water-levels been falling steadily since the1970s. Water-levels in the Oklahoma Panhandle Counties of Beaver, Cimarron, and Texas are declining at the rate of 1 to 3 feet per year. In Oklahoma, irrigation accounts for 86 percent of total groundwater use from Ogallala aquifer.
|Modeling soil moisture under various land cover types: using long-term grassland monitoring data to estimate soil moisture in Oklahoma forests
(Briana M. Wyatt with Drs. Tyson E. Ochsner and Chris B. Zou)
Soil moisture is an essential variable which affects climatic, hydrological, agricultural, and ecological systems. Due to the impact of soil moisture on important earth processes, in-situ soil monitoring networks are becoming more prevalent. However, the majority of soil moisture monitoring networks consider only one land cover type, usually grasslands, which limits the use of these data for areas with mixed land cover types. The Oklahoma Mesonet has monitored soil moisture at over 100 grassland sites for nearly two decades, but large areas of forest (12 million acres, or 28% of the state’s land area), cropland (~8 million acres, or 18%), and other land cover types have gone largely unmonitored.