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Oklahomans Are Convinced Dallas Is Stealing Their Water

Water levels in Lake Texoma are plummeting, beaching marinas, revealing heretofore submerged signs of human habitation and turning once-pleasant stretches of water into desolate moonscapes.

Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which administers the lake and controls outflow through the Denison Dam, chalk up Texoma's depleted state to a three-year drought, but locals are convinced there's a conspiracy afoot to drain the lake and send the water down Dallas' insatiable gullet.

The theory has taken root online, where commenters on the Save Lake Texoma Facebook are saying things like this:

They are trying to kill any hope there is to increase tourism and industry to this area. I heard they are sending water to Dallas.

And this:

Apparently Obama signed a bill allowing our lake to be used as a water resource for Dallas...wtf really?screw all the ppl in the area who's jobs this will effect right?? Wat a dumbass

Such fears don't come from nowhere. With an exploding population and similar struggles with drought, North Texas has been coveting Oklahoma water for years. The Tarrant Regional Water District was recently rebuffed by the U.S. Supreme Court in its quest for more water from the Red River basin.

The North Texas Municipal Water District, which serves 1.6 million people in Dallas' northern suburbs, has had more success, convincing Congress to pass a law allowing Texas to pump water from Texoma.

But that was hardly Obama's doing (the measure won support from both houses of Congress, including the Republican-controlled House of Representatives), and the new law was more ratification of the existing order than a mandate to drain Texoma. The only reason NTMWD hadn't been pumping from the lake was because its pump station was technically in Oklahoma, and federal law bars transporting zebra mussels across state lines.

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Still, corps officials felt compelled to address the speculation head-on.

"That is a false rumor and it is rampant right now," an agency administrator told The Ada News last week for a story headlined "Corps not intentionally draining Lake Texoma." "It is all over the Internet. We are currently in year three of an exceptional to severe drought."

StateImpact Oklahoma also ran a piece debunking such rumors as myth. But what else would one expect from a compliant, lap-dog media?

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

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