Prior to 1937, ground-water work in Oklahoma consisted of broad scale early-day reconnaissance and a few brief investigations of local areas. The reconnaissance is distinguished by C. N. Gould‘s "Geology and Water Resources of Oklahoma" (Water-Supply Paper 148, 1905), which covers about half of the present State of Oklahoma. Among the shorter reports are two by Schwennesen for areas near Enid and Oklahoma City, one by Renick for Enid, and one by Thompson on irrigation possibilities near Gage. These reports are now inadequate by modern standards.
Cooperative ground-water work in Oklahoma by the United States Geological Survey began in 1937, with the Oklahoma Geological Survey as cooperating agency. With the passage of the new ground-water law by the State Legislature in 1949, the need for more information on available ground waters and the safe yield of the various aquifers became very pressing. Accordingly, the Division of Water Resources of the Oklahoma Planning and Resources Board, to which was delegated the responsibility of administering the Ground-Water Law, entered into a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Geological Survey, providing for an expansion of ground-water investigations. Both cooperators have consistently given full and enthusiastic cooperation, often beyond the requirements of the cooperative program.
The first cooperative investigation was an evaluation of ground-water supplies available for irrigation in the Panhandle. In 1937 the Panhandle was still very much in the dust bowl, and it was hoped that irrigation would alleviate the drought. A bulletin on Texas County was published in 1939, and one on Cimarron County in 1943. Ground-water investigations during the World War II were restricted to the demands of Army and Navy installations, and to defense industries. Ground-water investigations since 1945 have included both country-wide and aquifer-type investigations. In Oklahoma it has been the policy for the State cooperator to publish the results of the ground-water investigation.