Supreme Court Wades Into Texas-Oklahoma Water War Today

SMU Assistant Professor of Law Sarah Tran weighs in on what the Supreme Court may consider in a dispute over water rights between Texas and Oklahoma.

By Shelley Kofler

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.

Ground zero in this dispute is just below Hugo Lake, Okla. And the fish are jumpin’.

"Right today I’m going to try to catch some catfish," Larry Burris says. Caught some last night."

A healthy spring rain has filled the lake, so the Army Corp of Engineers has opened the flood gates at the dam, releasing a thunderous rush of water into the Kiamichi River.

Along the river banks anglers stand shoulder to shoulder. Lynell Webster says it doesn’t get any better than this for the rod-and-reel crowd.

“This is what we’re catching here. Crappie. Fourteen- to 16- inch crappie,” he says. “They’re delicious.”

This is a way of life for Oklahoma natives like Webster, which is why he’s pretty hot about a Texas plan to buy some of the water rolling past his fishing hole.

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