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Sardis Lake deal up for vote before Oklahoma panel

The Oklahoma Water Resources Board will vote Friday on Oklahoma City's $42 million offer for the water in Sardis Lake. The Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes oppose the deal and may sue to block it.

BY JOHN ESTUS Modified: June 11, 2010 at 4:42 am •  Published: June 11, 2010
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A proposed solution to a decades-long dispute over who gets the water in Sardis Lake is before the Oklahoma Water Resources Board today.

Chances are slim the dispute will end.

The Choctaw and Chickasaw nations have urged state officials to delay awarding the southeast Oklahoma lake's water to Oklahoma City, which has offered to pay off the state's $27 million debt on the lake in exchange for much of its water.

The Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust's $42 million offer for storage rights to about 90 percent of the lake's water is set to be voted on by the water resources board in a special meeting today.

State leaders support Oklahoma City's offer, but at least one tribe may file a lawsuit to overturn it if it is approved.

"We prefer to mitigate rather than litigate, but we have a legal team in place if necessary,” said Judy Allen, a spokeswoman for the Choctaw Nation.

The U.