First, diversion of Oklahoma freshwater from its flow to the Red River would increase the salinity of the Red River, already saline from flow of the Salt Fork, near the boundary of Oklahoma with Texas.

Deliberate increase of the salinity of the Red River is forbidden by the Red River Compact (RRC), to which Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas are adherents. Diverting the flow of freshwater into the Red River would enhance natural pollution from dissolved salt, not alleviate it, and might be a basis for litigation from downstream states Arkansas and Louisiana.

Second, the Mississippi River Delta is presently eroding at the rate of about 35 square miles per year. There are a variety of causes, one of which is diminished flow of the Mississippi River.

Diminution of flow stems from increasing use of water by upstream communities. Further diminution of the flow would enhance the rate of erosion, and the Delta supports significant economic activities. Although this is not explicit in the Red River Compact, it is certainly not nice for Oklahoma and Texas to damage economic activity in a downstream state. This is morally prohibitive.

A third reason for holding off on sale of Oklahoma freshwater to Texas lies in the somewhat unquantifiable effects of climate change. This is illustrated by the intense heat and drought that are now afflicting our state, and by other unusual weather around the world. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts worsening conditions as our atmosphere’s content of carbon dioxide and methane, both greenhouse gases, continues to increase.

Fourth, the existence of water flowing in a stream is not an indication of surplus.

There are those who favor sale of some of Oklahoma’s freshwater to Texas, largely because Texas will pay and we want more money. But our society today is on a perilous path, caused largely by rejection of long-term implications of powerful technology that stems from burgeoning science. The water solution for Tarrant County, which does not need more water now, is simply not to grow physically and not to allow increase of demand. And if we adopt similar policy, many of our anticipated problems would disappear also, with vast monetary savings, since new infrastructure would not be needed.

Our society may drift into chaos if population growth is not controlled. Cultural growth is the only sustainable kind of growth.

— Edwin Kessler

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