Environment | Law

Judge pushes Oklahoma tribal water lawsuit into mediation





A federal judge has ordered mediation in a lawsuit over tribal water rights in Oklahoma.

The Choctaw Nation and the Chickasaw Nation are asserting their ownership of Sardis Lake in the southeastern part of the state. They say they were promised water through treaties.

The tribes want to negotiate agreements with the state to recognize their rights. That would give them a stake in the potential sale of water in Sardis Lake to other communities.

Local residents appear to be just as concerned as the tribes about the state's attempt to sell water from the lake. They worry that water used for fishing and recreation will disappear.

"I saw what Oklahoma City did to Lake Atoka — they sucked it dry. It's now basically a mudhole," Bob Vandiver, 63, told The Los Angeles Times.

Get the Story:
Tribes, small-town residents fear Oklahoma City will drain their lake (The Los Angeles Times 11/13)
Judge wants quick, thrifty solution to tribal water rights case (AP 11/4)

Related Stories:
Editorial: Reaching consensus with tribes on water supply (6/7)
Editorial: Oklahoma tribes threaten legal action over water (4/13)
Choctaw Nation and Chickasaw Nation assert rights to water (4/12)
Choctaw Nation prepared to take action over transfer of lake (6/11)
Choctaw Nation expresses interest in taking control of lake (5/19)