Apply for a Permit to Construct or Modify a Dam
Any person who desires to construct, enlarge, alter, remove, or repair any dam that is more than 25 feet in height or has a storage capacity of more than 50 acre-feet must submit an application to the OWRB and receive a permit prior to starting construction. The application review process takes 60 days on average if all required documentation is submitted.
Depending on the location of your dam, you may need to acquire additional permits from OWRB floodplain management, the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, and/or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
If you are unsure if construction or modification of your dam requires a permit, please contact the OWRB Dam Safety Program.
Spillway Design Requirements
All applications to construct or modify a dam must include spillway design inflow specifications based on the 2019 report Regional Probably Maximum Precipitation Study for Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Gridded PMP values are available in report appendices and regional maps. The PMP Data Download Tool provides the depth, area, and duration of the maximum precipitation for general, local, and tropical storms at a given location. The most intense precipitation scenario must be used.
Applications that include a spillway design based on prior PMP studies will not be accepted.
Which activities do not require a permit?
Construction of Agriculture-Exempt Dams
An agriculture-exempt dam is a low hazard potential dam that is less than 25 feet in height, has a normal storage capacity of less than 100 acre-feet of water that will be used primarily for agriculture purposes as defined in 785:20-1-2, and was or will be designed or constructed with the assistance of a local conservation district or federal agriculture related agency. If you are interested in constructing an agriculture-exempt dam, contact your local service center.
Routine Maintenance & Repairs
Repairs that are considered routine maintenance do not require a permit. Contact the OWRB Dam Safety Program to determine if your dam repairs require a permit.