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Evaluation of Sustainable Water Availability in Drought Prone Watersheds in Southeastern Oklahoma

A South Central CSC FY 2017 Funding Opportunity Project
Principal Investigator
Wayne Kellogg


Start Date
End Date
Release Date


During the severe drought of 2010-2015, several communities in southeast Oklahoma almost ran out of water. Some of these communities rely on streams and rivers as their sole source of water and when these sources almost ran dry, it left them searching for alternatives and wondering how to continue growing, economically, with this water uncertainty. The possibility of climate change has these communities further concerned, primarily because they do not know what to expect. Previously, the USGS, both Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations collaborated on a project to apply a range of possible climate change scenarios to the Red River watershed to determine future water availability. This study will focus specifically on southeast Oklahoma, refining [...]

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Tishomingo NWR_Oklahoma_AlanCressler.jpg
“Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge, Oklahoma; Credit: Alan Cressler”
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Project Extension

typeTechnical Summary
valueSeveral communities within the Chickasaw-Choctaw jurisdictional territory, broadly covering southeast Oklahoma, have water supply vulnerabilities, as recently demonstrated by the 2010-2015 drought. Some of these communities are located within the Red River Basin, for which a climate change study has recently been completed. Tishomingo, Oklahoma, which relies on Pennington Creek as its sole source of water, and Durant, Oklahoma, which relies exclusively on the Blue River are good examples of these types of communities. Both cities nearly ran out of water during the last drought, experiencing exceptionally low flows at their respective intake structures. Temperatures are expected to be higher and droughts are predicted to be longer and more severe in the future, impacting ecosystem health and making the water availability situation worse. Using 27 downscaled Global Climate Models and Representative Concentration Pathway combinations that represent a likely range of possibilities for the future and that were developed as part of the previous Red River Basin study, this study will “zoom in” on the southeast Oklahoma portion of the watershed, identifying the most vulnerable communities and shedding light on ecosystems that are at greater risk of fish species being extirpated or becoming extinct. The RiverWare Model built for that project will be refined to look specifically at individual water providers and the flows in individual tributaries that they rely on, to determine when future demand will exceed supply. In addition to the possibility of water supplies shrinking in the future, population growth will increase demand, which will need to be considered too. Complementing this water supply planning work, project staff will collaborate with the United States Geographical Survey (USGS) to investigate the impacts of drought on fish species, determine changes in occupancy and the potential of ecosystems to repopulate with key species following very dry conditions.

Budget Extension

typeAward Type
typeAward Number

Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge, Oklahoma; Credit: Alan Cressler
Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge, Oklahoma; Credit: Alan Cressler


Spatial Services

ScienceBase WMS


  • National and Regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers
  • South Central CASC



Additional Information


Type Scheme Key
RegistrationUUID NCCWSC 5c7ab5e5-e831-49d3-a311-75baf49d1964
StampID NCCWSC SC17-KW0894

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