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Drawing Straws: Forums discuss water issues in Oklahoma


Public deliberative forums are a way for people to come together and talk about issues in a safe way.

"With a public deliberative forum, participants are able to dialogue and have the opportunity to reconsider the views of others, said Renee Daugherty, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension leadership development and educational methods specialist. "Participants can also offer their own opinions and values and develop a better understanding of the issue at hand."

A new public deliberative forum guide on Oklahoma water has been released. Drawing Straws: Working Together to Manage Oklahoma's Growing Demand for Water was modeled on National Issues Forums books but was written for the Oklahoma Partnership for Public Deliberation.

In a two-hour forum the deliberative guide offers three distinct approaches: treat water as a commodity, balance supply and demand through conservation or treat water as a common good. OPPD trained moderators will guide participants through equal consideration of each approach.

Daugherty said the goal is to have at least 20 deliberative forums scheduled by Oct. 31. The deadline to schedule a forum is Sept. 7. To schedule a forum in your area, contact your local Cooperative Extension office. Alternatively, contact Daugherty or Kimberly Williams, OSU assistant Extension specialist, citizen engagement at, 405-744-6282. More than one forum can be scheduled for a community.

"These forums are public meetings and are not affiliated with the public input portion of the Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan," Daugherty said. "The purpose of these forums is for community members to come together to discuss the issue and better understand its implications and consider the benefits and drawbacks of different approaches to the issue."

A copy of the issue guide can be downloaded on the Internet at OKdeliberates.org.

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