Details on water rights deal announced

Ponca City Now - August 12, 2016 11:17 am

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, Oklahoma City officials and the leaders of the Chickasaw and Choctaw nations have announced details of an agreement to settle longstanding lawsuits involving water rights in the tribes' historic treaty territories in southeastern Oklahoma.

Fallin said Thursday that the agreement provides a framework for intergovernmental collaboration on water resource issues that protects existing water rights. It also calls for a system of lake-level restrictions on Sardis Lake to conserve water resources while also allowing Oklahoma City access to the lake for municipal water supplies.

Fallin says water is critical to promoting economic growth in the region. The governor says the agreement affirms the state's role in management of the state's water resources but gives the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations significant roles in water allocation and conservation.

Chief of Choctaw Nation Gary Batton, from left, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and the Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby listen to a speaker during a press conference at the Oklahoma Heritage Center in Oklahoma City on Thursday. Oklahoma and the two Native American tribes have reached a settlement to end a water rights and tribal sovereignty dispute stemming back to the 19th century, according to negotiators for both sides.

Photo: Alonzo Adams, AP


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