Permits to tap into Lake Texoma becoming more strict - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Permits to tap into Lake Texoma becoming more strict

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LAKE TEXOMA -- Permits for oil and gas companies may soon be tough to tap into if water levels at Lake Texoma continue to drop.

Oil is still being pumped from beneath Lake Texoma but water that used to surround the wells is dried up.

While mother nature is mostly to blame, low water levels are the reason permit requests by oil and gas companies are now under even more scrutiny.

"Anytime we are in a low water level like this, it just brings increased focus to what we are doing," Joe Custer said.

Custer is the lake manager with the Army Corp of Engineers which grants access to the land that leads up to the water.

In Oklahoma, the water itself is owned by the state and managed by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board.

The OWRB issues two types of permits. One allows companies to pull water out of the lake for 90 days. The other is for long-term use.

In all, the OWRB says there are 22 permits in use at Lake Texoma. Two are from oil and gas companies, but soon, there will be a third.

"There is one provisional temporary permit that is set to initiate on April 1 specifically for oil and gas use. That would be a 90-day permit," OWRB communications director Brian Vance said.

By law, Vance says the Board is required assess the amount water available in Lake Texoma and issue permits to use the available water.

Vance says several factors are looked at when deciding which permit applications to grant or reject.

"If there's water available, if they're not going to waste the water, if they're not going to pollute the water," Vance said.

Regardless of how the water will be put to use, right now it's clear, where it came from is the main concern.

"Everytime somebody pulls a little bit of water out Lake Texoma, that is scrutinized by all there," Custer said. "There's no doubt the scrutiny is going to continue to increase as the lake level falls."

A regional public meeting to address low water levels is scheduled for Friday, April 4 at 6:30pm at the Durant High School auditorium.