Decision Made Concerning Red River Compact


This month, in Tarrant Regional Water District v. Herrmann, the United States Supreme Court unanimously sided with the State of Oklahoma in the state’s long battle with the State of Texas concerning the Red River Compact, 94 Stat. 3305 (“the Compact”). The case represents a significant win for the State of Oklahoma and the preservation of its water management authority. The decision is also significant for other states that may face similar interstate transfer issues because it demonstrates the Court’s unwillingness to allow interstate water transfers over a state’s objection where the applicable compact language is less than clear.

By way of background, the Compact is a multi-state agreement that allocates water rights within the Red River Basin among Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. Under the Compact, the river is divided into five separate subdivisions called reaches and each reach is further divided into smaller subbasins. The Compact governs the allocation of water within each reach and subbasin.

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