Okla. water adjudication likely a lengthy process

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The legal battle over tribal water rights in southeastern Oklahoma is about to get more complicated.

The state plans to take the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations to court to determine the extent of their water rights in the fertile region. Similar tribal disputes in other states have taken years to resolve.

The lawsuit authorized last month by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board will be filed by Feb. 1 in response to a federal lawsuit filed by the two tribes in August.

That lawsuit claims tribal rights and regulatory authority over water in the historic territories of the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations pre-date and supersede any water rights claimed by state officials.

The lawsuits complicate the state's efforts to develop and implement a statewide comprehensive water plan.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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