Historically, Ada, Oklahoma has been known as “The City of Pure Spring Water,” making it the ideal place for a brand new water institute. Situated on East Central University’s campus, The Oka’ Institute opened its doors in July of 2016 to bridge the gap between sustainable water management and economic development. Oka’ is derived from the Chickasaw and Choctaw word for water.
The City of Ada has a rich history of water research and development and is the nucleus of multiple well-known water resources such as EPA’s Robert S. Kerr Environmental Research Center, which is nationally recognized for their expertise on groundwater research, and the Chickasaw Nation, which is recognized as a leader in water resource management. In addition, the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer,
located just south of Ada, is one of the most studied groundwater resources in the state.
All of these resources convene to make compelling reasons why the Oka’ Institute at ECU is the perfect location for a water institute. Add to these resources the fact that ECU has recently established a new Master of Science degree in Water Resource Policy and Management and you have a dynamic opportunity for sound water policy development, driven by research and data that ensure water
“To create practical water solutions both locally and globally driven by research and directed by data that result in long-term sustainable ecological management and economic development”
"To address Oklahoma's water resource needs through sustainable water resource management strategies that address real-world demands. This includes a commitment to public and professional education, a recognition of the economic development opportunities and implications of water resources, and to the creation of scientifically defensible and equitable, best practices for water resource management."