Texas-Oklahoma sign water agreement on Lake Texoma

Marice Richter

Special to the Business Press

An agreement gives Texas access to some water from Oklahoma was recently signed by the governors of the two states.

Gov. Rick Perry and Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed an agreement that allows Texas access to the Texoma Pump Station on Lake Texoma, the 90,000-acre lake that straddles the Texas and Oklahoma borders.

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The North Texas Municipal Water District, which provides water to about 1.6 million customers primarily in Dallas and Collin counties, constructed the pump station together with the Greater Texoma Utility Authority, which serves Texas customers in the lake area, including Sherman and Denison.

The governors’ agreement allows the two water districts to divert water from the pump without additional approval from Oklahoma. “Water is an important resource for families and businesses on both sides of the Texas-Oklahoma border,” Gov. Perry said. “I’m pleased Gov. Fallin and I have reached an agreement that is appropriate for both of our states moving forward.” The agreement follows a long legal battle between Oklahoma and Tarrant Regional Water District over the Fort Worth-based water district’s effort to claim billions of gallons of water from an Oklahoma water basin north of the Red River. The U.S. Supreme Court settled the dispute by ruling last June that the water district was not entitled to claim the water under a 30-year-old four-state compact approved by Congress in 1980. Years later, Oklahoma passed a state law blocking the sale of water out-of-state. The TRWD sued Oklahoma in 2007 and lower courts consistently ruled in favor of Oklahoma. The TRWD continued its appeals until the high court ended the dispute with a finding that the water district’s claims “lack merit.” TRWD officials pressed the case because it needs more water to meet the growing needs of its North Texas customers, including residents of Fort Worth and Tarrant County. TRWD officials had no comment on the governors’ new agreement because its does not effect the district or its customers.