Lake Waurika was built in by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1977 to serve, primarily, as a source of drinking water for Lawton and surrounding communities. It has also become an important tourist attraction for the area.
Cattle stand in a heavily irrigated pasture in Oregon's Upper Klamath Basin. The state has ordered ranchers in the region to shut down irrigation. The move is aimed at protecting the rights of Indian tribes who live downstream.
Credit Amelia Templeton for NPR
Don Gentry, chairman of the Klamath Tribes, says the tribes have not been able to fish for suckerfish for the past 27 years. "The condition of our fish is just so dire," he says.
So often, we take water for granted. We turn on the faucet and there it is. We assume it's our right in America to have water. And yet, water is a resource. It's not always where we need it, or there when we need it.
Rivers don't follow political boundaries — they flow through states and over international borders. And there are endless demands for water: for agriculture, drinking, plumbing, manufacturing, to name just a few. And then there's the ecosystem that depends on water getting downstream.
So what are our legal rights when it comes to water? And who decides?
Every four years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency releases an analysis of how much federal money states will need to complete water projects to provide clean drinking water over the next 20 years.
Credit Joe Wertz / The Oklahoma Water Resources Board is a big advocate for regional water planning, the idea that local control over who uses what water and where it’s sent will lead to better conservation. But the move toward regional planning signed into law Friday by G
Water advocacy groups praised the new law, saying it it would give a bigger planning voice to rural areas, especially water-rich southeastern Oklahoma.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Tarrant v. Herrmann, an Oklahoma-Texas water fight with national implications.
The justices grappled with the 30-year-old Red River Compact, and whether a region of Texas can reach across state lines to access water in southeastern Oklahoma.
The two states have different interpretations of some language in the agreement. The compact gives Oklahoma and Texas “equal rights” to some of the water in southeastern Oklahoma. But “equal rights” means different things to each state.
The Tarrant water case is deep, but StateImpact Oklahoma wants to be your Red River guide. They’ve assembled a visual map to help you wade through the key components of this important Supreme Court case.
In a few weeks, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Tarrant Regional Water District v. Herrmann, an Oklahoma-Texas water case that experts say could have ripple effects on water-sharing agreements throughout the country. It's a complicated case, filled with disputes over geography, compact language, and questions of sovereignty.