Editorial: Reaching consensus with tribes on water supply

"These are issues that will require strong, proactive leadership — we can't treat water the way we did Oklahoma's roads and bridges, where the state only got serious about improving them after a motorist was killed by a chunk of concrete that fell from an aging bridge. And they are issues that will require a willingness by many parties to work together for the benefit of the state as a whole.

This is what has us nervous.

Indian tribes contend they own the water that sits or runs through their allotted lands, and therefore they must sign off on any water deals. The Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes have threatened to sue over a deal Oklahoma City made last year to gain access to water at Sardis Lake in southeastern Oklahoma. A University of Oklahoma law professor, in a report to the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, encourages the state to negotiate with tribes to resolve water rights issues. A Chickasaw attorney said the tribe doesn't want a court fight over water but also made it clear: “Our position is it's ours — you don't have anything.”"

Get the Story:
Editorial: Reaching consensus on water strategy a long shot (The Oklahoman 6/7)

Related Stories:
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)

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