The future of our city and our state depend on having enough clean (pollutant-free) water for all our needs. The League of Women Voters has a long history of supporting clean water and has taken positions at the national and state levels. However, it is time to expand and update the state position.
In May, at the 2011 convention, the Oklahoma League again turned its attention to water supply and water safety. A new statewide study proposed by the Tulsa League was adopted. The two-year study is intended to update and expand the current state League position. The committee will study water use, protection, management, conservation, ownership and quality across Oklahoma.
Julie Skye, chair of the Tulsa League environment committee, is heading up the study with help from other League’s around the state. Comments or questions on water issues may be sent to [email protected]
Although the League of Women Voters of the United States reached a position on water in 1958 and updated and revised it in 1960, delegates to the League of Women Voters of Oklahoma Council in 1978 found that they shared a deep concern about the quality and quantity of water in Oklahoma and began to work on water issues at that time.
Passage of an expanded Safe Drinking Water Act in 1986 and the Clean Water Act of 1987 marked important milestones in the League of Women Voters national effort to ensure safe drinking water for all Americans and safeguards against nonpoint pollution. Additionally, Leagues across the country conducted surveys of local drinking water officials and held educational forums. The national organization has continued to work on the safety of drinking water, including urging Congress to protect women and children from toxic mercury by supporting a bipartisan resolution to reject the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rule to delay reductions in mercury emissions from power plants.
League of Women Voters of Oklahoma Position on Water (as of 2009)
“Support of state policies and procedures which promote comprehensive long-range planning for conservation and development of water resources.”
The League of Women Voters of Oklahoma supports state policies and procedures which promote comprehensive long-range planning for conservation, management and protection of water resources. Such planning requires:
- Better coordination and organization at the state level.
- Elimination of inconsistencies and conflicts of interest among state agencies and between state and local interests responsible for water planning.
- Coordination and cooperation with surrounding states and with federal government to meet present and future needs.
- A reliable and timely data base in order to consider all alternatives before decisions are made.
- Support of research to enable the most fair and conservative use of water resources, tailoring future demands to supply.
The League believes that comprehensive water planning and management on a state and area wide basis is essential to the optimum use of the state’s water resources. Conservation and protection should be a prerequisite of all water planning and management.
- Such management should balance the particular needs of each locality/area with state and regional interests.
- Mechanisms are needed, appropriate to each area, which will provide coordinated planning and administration among federal, state and local agencies.
- Procedures should be established and adhered to, which will provide information and an opportunity for citizen participation in policy decisions affecting the directions which water development will take. Preparation of a state wide water plan should include a socio-economic and environmental impact statement in which all alternatives are fairly evaluated. A clear indication should be made of the benefits, the costs and who pays.
- The federal and state governments have a necessary role in financing water resource development, but local governments and private users should share such costs.
Consensus approved 1979. Position revised 1986.