Supreme Court Ruling Won’t Keep Texas From Trying to Buy Oklahoma Water

  • Joe Wertz
The OK-TX water dispute centers on the Kiamichi River in near Hugo in southeastern Oklahoma.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The OK-TX water dispute centered on the Kiamichi River near Hugo in southeastern Oklahoma.

When the U.S. Supreme Court sided unanimously with Oklahoma in the courtroom war over water that flows into the Red River, Texas’ legal claim to the resource was greatly diminished.

The Tarrant Regional Water District might be down, but it’s not out, the Journal Record’s M. Scott Carter reports. Thirsty north Texas still wants Oklahoma water and there’s a good chance it will revisit its first strategy: buying it.

… Tarrant officials have shown they are willing to spend money and time to obtain more water. Even though the water district’s legal bill topped more than $6 million, finding water sources within Texas could prove even more expensive.

The legal tab is justified, Tarrant officials say, because Oklahoma’s water would have been worth billions to rapidly growing and drought-stricken north Texas. The big stakes and Texas-sized wallet is worrying some lawmakers in water-rich southeastern Oklahoma:

… nothing in the settlement protects Oklahomans from the greed or misguided beliefs of other Oklahomans,” state Rep. Brian Renegar, D-McAlester, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, we have quite a few Oklahoma legislators who are still more than willing to sell our water to Texas. These legislators talk about the vast quantity of water flowing out of our state.”