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Supreme Court Still Weighing Oklahoma Water Issue

Mike Bitzenhofer
(cc) flickr

Supreme Court Justices today kept alive a Tarrant Regional Water District lawsuit seeking the right to import water from Oklahoma.

The water district had hoped Justices would simply agree to hear their case. While that didn’t happen justices didn’t reject the case either. Instead they asked the United States Solicitor General for his opinion. 

The issues in question date back to 2007 and the Tarrant Regional Water Districts claim that in the multi-state Red River compact Oklahoma agreed to give Texas 25% of the Red River’s water.

Oklahoma says it can’t do that because its laws prohibit transporting water across state boundaries without the legislature’s permission. When a federal court in Denver sided with Oklahoma last fall the Tarrant Regional Water District appealed to the Supreme Court.

Unless the Supreme Court now agrees to hear the case Oklahoma will be allowed to restrict the water.

At stake for drought-prone North Texas is an abundant supply for the region which is why other North Texas utilities are helping pay for the lawsuit.

At stake nationally is the question of whether states located upstream on rivers can withhold water from states located further downstream.