top of page


The Oka' Institute's commitment to science-based water research is an important step towards addressing the global water crisis. By conducting research that is grounded in scientific principles, the Oka' Institute can provide valuable insights into the complex nature of water systems. This research can help identify areas of concern, as well as potential solutions that are tailored to specific regions and communities.

With the partnership of the Chickasaw Nation, City of Ada, United States Geological Survey, and East Central University, the Oka' Institute is able to provide sound research that can be used to inform policy decisions and guide conservation efforts.

Silhouette of Scuba Divers

Eastern ASA Hydrology Study

Oklahoma's landowners and other stakeholders have worked to preserve the Arbuckle-Simpson’s water supply and promote economic growth through sustainable water practices. Based on those needs, Oka’ is facilitating an interest-driven study. 
The Eastern ASA Hydrology study is a five million dollar study to be conducted over an eight-year time period. This study will build on the Phase One study which determined the maximum annual yield for the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer.
This project will be comprised of three parts. The first two steps will be the concentrated monitoring of springs, streams, wells and a look into the hydrological framework. Lastly, the data collected will be compiled to create a hydrological model for the aquifer.
With the advancements in the technology of hydrological modeling, we expect this study to be of the highest quality. This data will serve as the definitive tool for all stakeholders who rely on this aquifer for water. 

2018.3.16 Blackwood and USGS springs inventory 1.jpg
Scientist Kevin Blackwood © Laura Brigger

Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) has been studied and implemented at many locations around the nation. Enhanced Aquifer Recharge is a unique application of ASR, focused around a rural landscape management approach to enhance natural infiltration process and re-purpose storm flow to groundwater and baseflow enhancement.


The City of Ada is partnering with the Chickasaw Nation, Oka’ the Water Institute at East Central University and Oklahoma State University looking at EAR as a cost-effective way to preserve the city's water supply. 

Other cities have projects in place to treat water supply and return it to the ground for later use. A water treatment plant, installing pipe and other equipment for this kind of water reuse is too expensive for a small city like Ada. An alternative is E.A.R.  

The Robert S. Kerr Environmental Research Center has provided technical assistance and the city has installed small leaky pond structures connected to naturally occurring faults in the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer to capture rainstorm runoff. This runoff should go back into the aquifer to recharge and enhance streams and springs flow. 


The research partnership developed in this area addresses critical research needs for Oklahoma and the nation, as well as providing a unique opportunity for ECU undergraduate and graduate students to collaborate, through Oka’s research activities, with future employers and world-class scientists.

LA-ASR Enhanced Aquifer Recharge


Oklahoma Water Rates

Oklahoma has faced a number of water-related challenges in recent years, including droughts, flooding, and contamination issues. As such, it is critical to ensure that the state's water rates are fair and reasonable for all residents. The John and Kay Hargrave Water Stewardship Scholarship, in collaboration with the Oka' Institute at East Central University, aims to shed light on this issue through their research project.

By comparing the population and average income of a city, the project will determine whether Oklahoma's water rates are adequate or if they are putting an undue burden on certain communities. This information could be used to inform future policy decisions and ensure that water rates are equitable for all residents.

If you are interested in learning more about this project, be sure to click the button below to see the full map and report. 

ECU Summer Research Opportunity

The goal of the SRO program is to promote water-focused scientific research here at ECU and give undergraduate students an opportunity to experience a professor led research experience.
We're looking for faculty-initiated projects that align with Oka’s mission to address Oklahoma's water resource needs through sustainable water 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.

The research will extend for an 8-week research period.  Proposals must include supervision of 1-2 undergraduate research student positions, which the professor must recruit. If there are 2 research positions, the second position may be filled by a graduate student. Proposals may focus on physical, biological, or social science topics that advance Oka’s goals and objectives.

Previous year’s participants studied groundwater connections, collected data to support surface and groundwater interactions, investigated water management perspectives, and studied the ecosystem within the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer.

dr B in gamma field_edited.jpg
bottom of page