Tarrant district office
The Tarrant Regional Water District, based at Fort Worth, Texas, on December 18 filed an amended complaint challenging an Oklahoma ban on sale of water out of state. Tarrant said that a federal court order on November 18 offered specific instructions for amending that complaint.
Jim Oliver, TRWD general manager, said that “Despite claims to the contrary, our suit is very much alive. To paraphrase fellow water enthusiast Mark Twain, ‘Rumors of our dismissal have been greatly exaggerated.’ The amended complaint assures our customers that we are continuing our fight to acquire excess water that flows out of Oklahoma in a significant amount, and we have strengthened our claims with every passing day.”
TRWD has been seeking water from three places in Oklahoma north of the Red River, and has expressed interest in other sources as well. Tarrant said that it is seeking about 7% of excess water leaving Oklahoma, and its claims would not affect any water in any reservoir in Oklahoma.
Oliver said that “no only do we have an interested seller of water in the Apache Tribe [of Oklahoma], but we are confident that we have strengthened our claims based on the November 18 order. Even with these developments, we remain steadfast that the best result for both sides would be a negotiated purchase of excess Oklahoma water.”
TRWD describes itself as one of the largest raw water suppliers in the state of Texas, providing water to more than 1.7 million people in the North Central Texas area. Some of its wholesale customers include the cities of Fort Worth, Arlington, Mansfield and the Trinity River Authority. Operations span a 11-county area that reaches from Jack County to Freestone County, and includes maintaining dams at the Water District’s four reservoirs and the more than 150 miles of pipeline used for water transport.
Oklahoma has fought in court Tarrant’s requests, and its legislature earlier this year passed a new law – requiring fill state legislative approval of out of state water right sales – aimed at blocking such sales. However, the november 18 order by Judge Joe Heaton said that law did not legally stop such a sale, upending a key Oklahoma argument. [see the Oklahoma City Oklahoman, December 19]