The U.S. Supreme Court will soon decide whether to take on a case that could upend decades of delicately balanced water agreements between states -- a case that's all the more pressing in a year when two-thirds of the continental U.S. has been hit by drought.
Oklahoma and Texas water authorities are anxiously awaiting word on whether the court will hear a challenge to a federal appeals court decision that threw a key water compact into jeopardy. In Tarrant Regional Water District v. Herrmann, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Texas' claims that Oklahoma was keeping more water than allowed under the 1978 Red River Compact. If the appeals court decision stands, that could throw interstate water agreements across the country into question.
James Oliver, the general manager of Texas' Tarrant Regional Water District and a party in the lawsuit, writes in Politico of coming "water anarchy" should the decision stand:
at risk is the viability of Native American nations, as well as Western farmers and ranchers whose livelihoods and very existence depend on water from interstate compacts. These include the farmers of Southern California’s Imperial and Coachella Valley, prime sources of winter fruits and vegetables for American consumers. Add to the casualties the shale oil, coal and petroleum producers Americans are counting on to end our dependence on imported energy.
OH, well in that case!