The Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) issued $175 million in bonds to finance water and sewer system improvements.
The bonds mature between 2024 and 2053, yielding between 2.74% and 4.32%. They received a rating of AAA from S&P Global Ratings.
“The rating reflects our view of OWRB’s credit strengths, including a long history of borrower repayment with no defaults in program history and no recent delinquencies, as well as generally strong financial policies and practices,” S&P Credit Analyst Autumn Mascio said.
The issuance comes as the OWRB develops a comprehensive water plan to ensure Oklahomans access to clean water for the next 50 years. The board is hosting public input meetings throughout August. It expects to release the plan in 2025.
Parts of Oklahoma have experienced extreme drought for much of the past year, though heavy rains in July brought the state out of “exceptional drought” for the first time since September 2022, according to the National Weather Service. Still, there are more than 350,000 Oklahomans, about 10% of the population, in areas of drought, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Integrated Drought Information System.
The OWRB will loan the bond proceeds to eligible entities that commit to projects which improve the state’s water and sewer systems. The bonds will be secured by revenue from the loans.
BOK Financial Securities Inc and Stifel, Nicolaus & Company Inc served as underwriters on the issuance, purchasing the bonds for $184 million. The price reflected a premium of $9 million.