Oklahoma City, Oklahoma — Legislative leaders today announced full membership of the Joint Legislative Water Committee, which will work on long-range water policy recommendations for Oklahoma.
The Water Committee will begin meeting Aug. 17, when it will start studying the Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan and collecting input from a wide variety of other sources and stakeholders as it explores what Oklahoma needs to do to meet its water needs in the next 50 years.
“Oklahoma’s future prosperity is absolutely dependent on water. Water policy affects all parts of the state, so we assembled this committee in a way that ensures all voices are heard,” said House Speaker Kris Steele. “Taking action today to provide tomorrow’s Oklahomans with the water they need is an awesome responsibility that our entire state must confront together. This committee is serious about providing the bold leadership Oklahoma needs on this issue.”
Steele, R-Shawnee, and Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman in June announced the formation of the Water Committee and pledged to make water policy a top legislative priority during the interim, next session and beyond. By design, the 16-member committee is bipartisan and geographically diverse.
“It is my goal that we thoroughly evaluate the water needs of our state and carefully consider Oklahoma’s stewardship of this most precious resource,” said Bingman, R-Sapulpa. “We are blessed to have the water resources we have in Oklahoma. As policymakers, we must take the most studious and thoughtful approach possible to ensure that these resources benefit our state and remain abundant for generations to come.”
The committee will operate in three phases. Phase one will be an educational and informational phase in which no formal action will be taken. Phase two will begin in October, when the water plan is finalized, and will see the committee begin developing water policy recommendations. Phase three will begin during the legislative session. The committee will not hear legislation during the session, but will meet as-needed to discuss legislation or other issues. If necessary, the committee may continue meeting after the session ends.