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Revised 2/15/2012 Protecting Oklahoma’s Water Resources The Role of a General Stream Adjudication Water is one of Oklahoma’s most important and precious resources. Our lakes, streams, rivers, and aquifers support farming and ranching operations, numerous industries, recreation, and fish habitat. Water provides the lifeblood for our growing communities. The security and certainty of our water supplies is vital to the future of our state. However, the security and certainty of our southeastern Oklahoma water resources has been called into question by a federal lawsuit filed by the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations. In that lawsuit, the Tribes seek total control over the water in 22 counties in southeastern Oklahoma. In their lawsuit: The Tribes claim that they have a right to regulate 100 percent of the water in over 22 counties—not just the right to regulate water located on the small percentage (approximately 3% or less) of those 22 counties that is actually Indian country. The Tribes claim that their water rights are ―superior and paramount‖ to those claimed under state law, and that their water rights and regulatory authority are ―the supreme law of the land.‖ The Tribes claim that the OWRB cannot take action on permits for water from the Kiamichi River, Muddy Boggy Creek and Clear Boggy Creek basins until a comprehensive adjudication of all water rights within those basins is completed. The Tribes are conducting an unprecedented and extravagant media campaign to malign and discredit the State’s efforts to address the Tribes’ federal court lawsuit. The Tribes’ litigation threatens water rights and uses, and the cloud of uncertainty placed upon existing water rights by the Tribes’ claims can only be cleared up in one way – through a general stream adjudication that will confirm the water rights of all claimants to water within the identified stream systems, consistent with state and federal law. The adjudication will allow for the State and all who possess or claim rights to Oklahoma’s precious water resources to defend and protect their rights. To be clear, the State did not want to file the adjudication. In fact, it wasn’t until the Tribes sued that the State even considered such an adjudication. The State asked the Tribes to drop their lawsuit so that a peaceful resolution could be reached, but the Tribes refused. As a result, the State had to act. Keep in mind, the Tribes are attacking the adjudication process precisely because it allows every Oklahoman with a claim to the water to have a seat at the table when the Tribes’ rights are determined. The Tribes don’t want that, and would rather have a federal court decide their rights without Oklahomans ever having their voice heard. That just isn’t right. The state adjudication process will give every Oklahoman with a water right the due process they deserve.
|Okla State Agency||
Water Resources Board, Oklahoma
|Okla Agency Code||
|Title||Protecting Oklahoma's water resources : the role of a general stream adjudication.|
|Authors||Oklahoma Water Resources Board.|
|Publisher||Oklahoma Water Resources Board|
Water--Law and legislation--Oklahoma.
Water resources development--Oklahoma.
Dispute resolution (Law)--Oklahoma.
|Purpose||The Role of a General Stream Adjudication; Real Answers to Frequently Asked Questions;|
|OkDocs Class#||W1700.4 P967r 2012|
|Digital Format||PDF, Adobe Reader required|
|ODL electronic copy||Downloaded from agency website: www.owrb.ok.gov/util/pdf_util/lawsuitdocs/GeneralStreamAdjudication.pdf|
|Rights and Permissions||This Oklahoma state government publication is provided for educational purposes under U.S. copyright law. Other usage requires permission of copyright holders.|