Oklahoma Water Resources Board the Water Agency

   About Us | Board Meetings | Rules | FAQ | News | Citizen Complaints | Pay Portal

Groundwater Use

In Oklahoma, groundwater is considered private property that belongs to the overlying surface owner; however, it is subject to reasonable regulation by the OWRB.

Persons intending to use groundwater for any reason other than domestic must submit a permit application to the OWRB. In most cases, the applicant must publish notice of the application in a newspaper in the county where the well is to be located and give notice by certified mail to landowners within ¼ mile of the proposed well location. If the permit application is protested, the Board will hold an administrative hearing on the matter.

Each permit applicant is allotted two acre-feet/year per acre of land in basins where maximum annual yield studies have not yet been completed, and an amount more or less than that in basins where studies have determined how much water may be withdrawn. Before the application is approved, the Board must determine the following to be true: the applicant owns or leases the land, the land overlies a fresh groundwater basin or subbasin, the proposed use is beneficial, and waste by depletion or pollution will not occur.

The Board issues four types of groundwater permits: regular, temporary, special, and provisional temporary.

  • A regular permit is approved for a proportionate amount of water determined by the maximum annual yield of the basin and the percentage of the land overlying the basin that is owned or leased by the applicant.
  • For basins in which no hydrologic survey has been conducted and no maximum annual yield determined, the OWRB issues a temporary permit allowing the withdrawal of two acre-feet/year of water per acre owned or leased; a regular permit may then be issued upon determination of the basin's yield.
  • Special permits, renewable three times, allow six-month water use in excess of that allocated under a regular or temporary permit.
  • Provisional temporary permits, frequently sought by oil companies requiring water for the drilling of oil and gas wells, allow use for up to 90 days. Provisional temporary permits may be approved by the executive director of the OWRB and do not require public notice and hearing.

Top | Site Index | Help | Related Links | Accessibility | Disclaimer 

3800 North Classen Boulevard, Oklahoma City, OK 73118

Visit the Oklahoma State Portal

©1998-2023, OWRB
Last updated: April 06, 2022

This site has been redesigned using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). If you are seeing this message you are using an older browser which lacks support for CSS. Please upgrade your browser to the latest version of Internet Explorer, Netscape or other CSS compatible browser to view this page properly.