Texas’ Application for Oklahoma Water Still Active Despite Supreme Court Ruling

The U.S. Supreme Court in June sided with Oklahoma, ruling the interstate Red River water compact did not entitle Texas to water within Oklahoma’s borders.

But the permit application the Tarrant Regional Water District from north Texas filed in 2007 filed in hopes of pumping water out of southeastern Oklahoma remains open and active, and state water authorities haven’t acted on it, the Journal Record’s M. Scott Carter reports:

“We’re still trying to decide what to do with that,” OWRB Executive Director J.D. Strong tells the paper.

The Texas water district spent more than $6 million in its legal fight with Oklahoma, which culminated with the Supreme Court case. And while the Texas water district’s efforts were ultimately rejected by the high court, it’s still eyeing Oklahoma water, the Journal reports. Dean Couch, the retired top attorney for the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, says other obstacles stand between Texas and Oklahoma’s water:

“There is the question of is there surplus water available,” he said. “In this case, there are some other issues that might need to be addressed. What about basic minimum flows? Is that available to be appropriated by anyone, let alone an out-of-state entity?”

Couch said Texas’ claims about growth and future water needs could also face scrutiny.

“All of those Texas Water Plan documents, let’s just say there could be a lot of analysis,” he said.


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