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Water Permitting FAQ

If you intend to use water for any purpose other than domestic use, Oklahoma law requires that you obtain a permit from the OWRB. Domestic use includes the use of water for household purposes, for farm and domestic animals up to the normal grazing capacity of the land, and for the irrigation of land not exceeding a total of three acres in area for the growing of gardens, orchards, and lawns. Domestic use also includes water used for agricultural purposes by natural individuals, use for fire protection, and use by non-household entities for drinking water, restrooms, and watering of lawns, provided such uses don't exceed five acre-feet per year.

Yes. If you are self-supplying your own water from a groundwater well or surface water source to grow marijuana or hemp (i.e. not buying water from a municipality, rural water district, or other entity) a water use permit is required prior to using water.

If the water use permit holder is growing medical marijuana or industrial hemp, a copy of the license from Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, and/or Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry license must be submitted to the OWRB. The associated water use permit number must be clearly identified in some manner (such as through a cover letter).

To apply for a long-term permit to use water, you must submit a Long-Term Application for Groundwater Use or a Long-Term Application for Surface Water Use to our office. Applications must be notarized. Application forms may be submitted in person, by mail, e-mail, or fax.

The following items are required to be submitted with the completed application:

  • For all applications the appropriate application filing fee, by check only, must be received by the Board before review of the application can commence. Filing fees are listed in the upper right hand corner of the application. If the filing fee is submitted separately from the application form, please ensure that enough identifying information is noted on the check to associate it with the application, including "Applicant Name(s)", "Stream Water" or "Groundwater", and possibly the legal description of property(s) listed on the application.
  • An application for groundwater use must be submitted with documents showing an interest in the surface of the land dedicated, or ownership of the groundwater rights. These may be deeds, leases, or other legal documents, but may not be tax documents.
  • An application for stream water use is not required to be submitted with land ownership documents, but please be aware that we may request them during the application process and that documents showing that the applicant has access to the diversion point must be received before water use can begin. If they are available, these documents shall be submitted with the application. These may be deeds, leases, or other legal documents, but may not be tax documents.

90-Day Provisional Temporary (PT) permit applications to use groundwater and surface water can be found in Forms & Guidance. 90-day PT permit applications may also be submitted online using the OWRB's Online Provisional Temporary Permitting System. You must first create an account by clicking "Request Account" on the left sidebar.

All PT permit applications must be submitted with either proof of ownership or written permission from the landowner to access the diversion points of stream water or to access wells and use groundwater.

Fees vary by type of permit and amount of water requested. Each application form lists the applicable filing fees. Long-term applications and some groundwater permit amendments use a sliding scale based upon the amount of water being requested to determine the correct fee. The fee for 90-Day Provisional Temporary permits is $200 for regular processing or $300 for expedited processing.

The OWRB mails water use reporting forms to permit holders annually in January. The forms must be completed and returned to the OWRB within the specified time period. Willful failure to complete and return the reporting forms with the annual water right administration fee may be considered by the OWRB as nonuse of water under the permit. Timely filing of water use forms and administrative fees will help ensure that a water right is official and on file with the OWRB. Additionally, for temporary groundwater basin permits, submittal of the completed form and fee payment will revalidate the permit for another year. For stream water right holders, the water use report forms reflect actual usage as compared to the appropriation amounts, and no reported use within the seven-year sliding scale or applicable schedule of use may be cause for reduction or cancellation of the water right. Please note that domestic use of water does not have to be reported. 

We will continue to send the water use reporting form to the most recent contact person associated with the water use permit until we are notified of an ownership change. You will find a page included with the water use reporting form where you can note changes in ownership or contact information. Please provide us the new owner's contact information if you know it, and we will reach out to them about transferring the permit. If you do not know it, please note that you are no longer the owner and send it back to the OWRB.

There are well spacing restrictions in some groundwater basins, typically 660 feet for alluvial aquifers and 1,320 feet for bedrock aquifers. These are well-to-well distances. Not all groundwater basins have spacing requirements. Additional restrictions apply within sole source groundwater basins. 

Last Modified on Aug 29, 2023