Determining exactly where the border between Oklahoma and Texas is along the Red River has been a touchy subject for more than a century.
And when it was discovered that one of the pumps that provides water to the North Texas Municipal Water District was actually it Oklahoma, it was shut down, as Texas Gov. Rick Perry called for negotiations.
But, as The Journal Record‘s M. Scott Carter reports, Perry and Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Jan. 17 meant to resolve the issue and let Texas use the water pump:
In short, both parties agreed the pump — for practical purposes — belongs to Texas and can be used.
The agreement eliminates the need for new border negotiations and allows Texas to continue operating the facility, as long as Texas provides Oklahoma officials with annual water-use reports from the NTMW.
“We believe that this MOU removes any need to reopen the Red River Boundary Compact,” Oklahoma deputy environmental secretary Tyler Powell wrote in an email to The Journal Record.
Moving water from the pump in Oklahoma across the state line into Texas was a problem because it’s illegal to transport an invasive species — like the zebra mussels found in Lake Texoma in 2009 — from one state to another.
StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership among Oklahoma’s public radio stations and relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.