Legal Support and Dispute Resolution
Nothing generates controversy like a project affecting water rights and water quality. Aqua Strategies has been a valuable partner to our clients who seek to resolve disputes by engaging stakeholders with sound science and unbiased engineering solutions from a credible water resources firm. We believe in balancing social, economic and environmental needs in all our projects, supporting our client’s needs through detailed and well-conceived models and data analyses. Dispute resolution is a core competency of the firm. One of our staff is a certified mediator with a law degree, and another is a Fellow of the UT Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution. Aqua Strategies has helped many clients resolve complex disputes, including: Water Rights Negotiations with the State of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City and the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations; and, multiple confidential clients.
Project: Kiamichi Basin and Lake Sardis Water Rights Mediation Process
Client: Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations
Date: 2012 – 2017
Keywords: Litigation Support; Dispute Mediation; Permitting; Water Planning; Stakeholder Involvement; Decision Support Tools; Data Collection; Data Analysis; Data Visualization
When planning for future water supply, the needs of water-scarce urban areas often conflict with those of water-rich rural areas. Such was the case when the State of Oklahoma and Oklahoma City reached an impasse with the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations to secure future water supply sources in the Kiamichi Basin within sovereign Nation lands. The breakdown of negotiations resulted in multiple lawsuits from both sides.
Aqua Strategies was retained by the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations to provide technical expertise from our subject matter experts. In addition, Aqua Strategies was able complement our technical expertise with the unique combination of Certified Mediation certifications earned by several of our principals. As a result, our firm was able to seek data-driven plausible solutions to address the critical needs of each litigant. Working with the law firms and litigants, Aqua Strategies interpreted multiple sophisticated numerical models and technical studies to find compatible alternatives to address the water supply needs of Oklahoma, yet also address the economic and environmental needs of the Nations.
Aqua Strategies’ unique combination of technical expertise and mediation experience enhanced our clients’ negotiating position, ultimately resulting in the avoidance of costly and time-consuming litigation with the development of the Oklahoma Water Settlement, which was agreed-to by all parties.