By a vote of 6-1, the Oklahoma Water Resources Board voted Tuesday to grant a permit to Oklahoma City to transfer water from the Sardis Lake reservoir in southeastern Oklahoma, according to a report by The Oklahoman. The single vote against granting the permit came from a board member who resides in southeastern Oklahoma.
OK Energy Today reported on September 27, 2017 that a state water board hearing examiner recommended approval for Oklahoma City to receive the permit to secure water needed to sustain long-term growth for the metropolitan area.
Oklahoma City initially applied for the Sardis water permit in 2007 to transfer nearly 115,000 acre feet of water, according to The Oklahoman. Under the permit, water will be transferred via pipeline from the Kiamichi River in Pushmataha County and transferred via pipeline to Lake Stanley Draper. The actual transfer is several years away from completion since infrastructure needs to be in place.
Last December, OK Energy Today reported that President Obama formally signed the Water Infrastructure for Improvements to the Nation (WIIN) Act into law. While the historic water agreement allows Oklahoma City to have legal access to Sardis Lake for drinking water from the Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes, securing the permit is one of several steps in the process to finalize the settlement and end current litigation.
Protections are built into the 2016 water settlement agreement among the city, state and tribal nations, according to the hearing examiner.
Despite achieving compromise with some groups, several dozen southeastern Oklahoma business owners and residents remain vehemently opposed to the permit and vow to continue the fight in federal court.