Oklahoma likely will face increased pressure on water resources within the next 50 years, placing a significant burden on the state’s agriculture and other industries to find ways to manage the essential resource more efficiently.

“The challenge is determining how to deal with water issues and identifying how long we can maintain a plentiful supply,” said Larry Sanders, Oklahoma Extension economist for public policy.

Sanders, addressing the Rural Economic Outlook Conference on the Oklahoma State University Stillwater campus, said a water board has been evaluating the problem for several years and will present a plan to the state legislature in late 2011 or 2012. “This is a five-year process.”