The Supremes Say No Red River Water for North Texas

No water from the Oklahoma part of the Red River for Texas
If North Texans thought they'd get their hands on Oklahoma water from the Red River, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled they've got another thing coming.

The Tarrant Regional Water District has been trying to buy water from Oklahoma to help the growing population up in that corner of Texas -- you know, the part where Dallas and Fort Worth are located -- but Oklahoma legislators passed laws that basically made it illegal to sell North Texas the water.

Texas argued that the Red River Pact, an agreement made between Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana and approved by Congress in 1980, said that the states would share water "equitably" as it flows through the states. The thing is, Tarrant found the water that flowed south from Oklahoma was unusable by the time it reached Texas. About six years ago, the water district asked to tap into the water further up, across the border in Oklahoma. Oklahoma declined the request, citing laws that protect their water, and the folks at the Tarrant Regional Water District sued.

They spent more than $6 million on the lawsuit, so either they were very sure some court would eventually decide they were in right or they must really want that water, and considering both the population boom they're experiencing up there (for some reason people seem to actually want to live near Dallas -- had too) and the drought that has gripped so much of the state, it's understandable that Tarrant would try to tap into a Red River tributary. They justified it by saying the Red River Compact, all sanctioned by Congress, gave them the right. (Though they never once brought up Red River, the actual movie, so maybe they missed a legal opening there.)

However, wanting is not having, and on Thursday morning the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Oklahoma had a right not to sell their water to North Texas, no matter how much North Texas wanted it. Tarrant could still get the water it's after, but it will be a lot more expensive now because it will be full of salts and other stuff that will have to be filtered out, according to StateImpact Texas.

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A little heavy with the musical allusions but yeah water is going to be a big fight going forward, Everywhere. And it will be interesting to see how states' rights will play into the game, given the Supreme composition. I mean, if our republic can tax wealthy, more populous states and divert the dough to less wealthy, less populous states (for instance, during natural disasters like Oklahoma) why shouldn't the feds apportion resources like water on a need basis... Dallas etc v Punkeytook.

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