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Red River Water Availability and Use and Ecological Characteristics Focus Area Study

Contact: William J. Andrews, PhD

Background

Map of Red River Basin Staff members of the Oklahoma Water Science Center in Oklahoma City and of the Oklahoma Coop Unit at Stillwater are working with USGS staff members from Water Science Centers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, and New Jersey to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of water-resource availability, refine water-use estimates, and characterize aquatic ecology and streamflows needed to support selected aquatic species in the Red River Basin. The majority of the Red River Basin extends from headwaters near the western Texas Panhandle to the confluence of this river with the Mississippi River in Louisiana. The area of the basin is about 93,200 square miles, with a human population of about 4.3 million.

Increasing amounts of demand for water and drought cycles have been reducing streamflows, decreasing groundwater levels, and increasing interstate disagreements over water use. This new Focus Area study, funded by about $1.5 million in funding from the WaterSMART program. Is one of three new Focus Area studies being conducted from 2015-18. The first year of the project will be used for project planning and meeting with stakeholders in the basin. Water-resource data analyses and investigations will occur from fiscal years 2016-18.

Additional information about the USGS WaterSMART program, including the three Focus Area studies being concluded, can be found on the Web at http://water.usgs.gov/watercensus/WaterSMART.html. Questions about Oklahoma work related to this new Focus Area study can be directed to William Andrews, Oklahoma Water Science Center Director, at wandrews@usgs.gov or 405-810-4417.

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