Pruitt, whose office represented the state, said the decision “affirmed Oklahoma sovereignty over our water.
“It's important that we in the state of Oklahoma have the ability to manage our water and not be forced to give water to Texas and that's what Tarrant County sought. It will impact generations to come, and the flexibility and latitude that Oklahoma needs to manage its water resources has been confirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Jim Oliver, general manager of the Tarrant Regional Water District, said Thursday, “Obviously, we are disappointed with the Supreme Court's decision.
“Securing additional water resources is essential to North Texas' continued growth and prosperity and will remain one of our top priorities. … The decision does not address the problem of Oklahoma's lack of water infrastructure, and we believe solutions that benefit both Texas and Oklahoma still exist.”
Oklahoma City's city manager Jim Couch hailed the decision. In a brief filed in the case, Oklahoma City argued that southeastern Oklahoma water is a critical component of the city's municipal water supply.
Oklahoma City has long-standing permits for water from the Kiamichi and Muddy Boggy rivers. The water is pumped from southeast Oklahoma through the 50-year-old Atoka pipeline. An application for more water from the Kiamichi would provide nearly enough to meet city needs for 2060, as projected in a 2009 study. That application is tied up in the lawsuit by the tribes.
Red River rivalries
The Supreme Court last year refused to wade into a separate water dispute in Oklahoma, effectively upholding an appeals court ruling that the Oklahoma town of Hugo couldn't sell water to Irving, Texas, without the state's permission.
The U.S. Justice Department urged the high court to take the Texas challenge and sided with the Tarrant district on the key point of whether Texas could cross the border to fulfill its share under the compact.
The high court's opinion Thursday gave a brief history of Red River rivalries between Oklahoma and Texas, mentioning “the famed college football rivalry between the Longhorns of Texas and the Sooners of Oklahoma” and the mobilization of state militias during the Red River Bridge War in 1931.