Supreme Court Rules States' Control of Water Sources Ends at Borders

Texas can't take water from Oklahoma without its permission


Oklahoma beat Texas at the Supreme Court on Thursday in a cross-border contest over water for the Fort Worth area.

In a unanimous decision, the court rejected efforts by the Tarrant Regional Water District to tap into a Red River tributary that flows through Oklahoma. Though Oklahoma and Texas are part of a hard-fought Red River Compact that divides up the water, the court's nine justices reasoned that the deal goes only so far.

"Cross-border rights were never intended to be part of the states' agreement," Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote for the court. "There is no indication that Tarrant or any other Texas agency, or the state of Texas itself, previously made any mention of cross-border rights within the compact."