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UPDATE: Water Board Directs Action on Tribal Water Claims (Dec 14, 2011)

OKLAHOMA CITY - The City of Oklahoma City and its Water Utilities Trust say they’re backing the Oklahoma Water Resources Board’s vote to authorize legal action to decide water rights in Southeast Oklahoma.

In response to a lawsuit filed by the Chickasaw and Choctaw nations, the OWRB on Tuesday voted to authorize its counsel to begin the process of adjudicating all the rights to the use of water in the Kiamichi River and Muddy Boggy stream systems.

City Manager Jim Couch says if the tribes prevail, the people and businesses in the Metro would pay a heavy price.  Oklahoma City and many parts of the state obtain their water from the Kiamichi, Muddy Boggy and Clear Boggy basins.

A spokeswoman for the Attorney General's Office says the action is a necessary step to protect the water rights of all Oklahomans.

The leaders of the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes say the move will condemn Oklahoma to a "generational fight" over water.

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