Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

Texas vs. Oklahoma, This Time at the Supreme Court

Map by NPR StateImpact

A water fight between Texas and Oklahoma heads to the Supreme Court today.

The highest court in the land will hear about Texas’ water woes today. It will be the culmination of several years of litigation over Oklahoma water that Texas wants.

Shelley Kofler of KERA in Dallas has more on the story:

“There’s often been tension between Texas and Oklahoma. A dispute over the state boundary line dates back nearly 200 years.  And for more than a century Texas and OU football teams have clashed in the Red River Rivalry. Tuesday, the latest skirmish goes before the U.S. Supreme Court when the State of Oklahoma and the Tarrant Regional Water District in Fort Worth argue over water rights.”

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear Tarrant Regional Water District v. Herrmann today. At stake is water in the Red River: Texas says it has received less than its fair share of it under guidelines set out in the Red River Compact, which dictates how water in the Red River should be divvied up.

While the case attends to Texas and Oklahoma’s water war, the decision rendered could affect interstate water disputes beyond Texas and Oklahoma.

Texas’ water problems have been compounded by the ongoing drought. In particular, a population boom in the Fort Worth area has strained water resources. One Texas State Representative, Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio, has introduced legislation in Texas that could help lower tensions over water disputes between Texas and neighboring states.

The case went to the U.S.10th District Court of Appeals in mid-2011. Texas lost that round. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments then make a decision, likely sometime later this year.

You can check out extensive coverage from our neighbors to the North, StateImpact Oklahoma, on the issue here.

David Barer is a reporting intern with StateImpact Texas.


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