Compact Area Map
Negotiations on the Red River Compact were authorized by Congress in 1955.
In 1978, the Compact was signed by member states to resolve and prevent
disputes over waters of the Red River Basin that are shared between the
neighboring states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas, and to assure
the receipt by member states of adequate surface flows and releases.
The Red River Compact Commission consists of nine members -- two members
from each of the four states (the director of the state water agency and
a basin resident appointed by the governor) and a federal representative
appointed by the President. The federal commissioner is a non-voting member
and serves as Commission chairman. Various state and federal agencies
support the compact commissioners in administering the agreement. The
Commission meets once each year.
While provisions of the Red River Compact specifically state how much water each signatory state is allowed to develop or store on an interstate stream, the compact generally provides a means of working out problems between member states in an orderly manner, thus preventing the likelihood of litigation in most cases. Although the compacts continue to address problems concerning quantities and equitable development of river waters, annual meetings of the compact commissions deal increasingly with quality and pollution problems. The Red River Compact Commission has already established a standing environmental committee.
According to Article 1 of the Red River Compact, its principal purposes are:
- To promote interstate comity and remove causes of controversy between each of the affected states by governing the use, control and distribution of the interstate water of the Red River and its tributaries;
- To provide an equitable apportionment among the Signatory States of the water of the Red River and its tributaries;
- To promote an active program for the control and alleviation of natural deterioration and pollution of the water of the Red River Basin and to provide for enforcement of the laws related thereto;
- To provide the means for an active program for the conservation of water, protection of lives and property from floods, improvement of water quality, development of navigation and regulation of flows in the Red River Basin; and
- To provide a basis for state or joint state planning and action by ascertaining and identifying each state's share in the interstate water of the Red River Basin and the apportionment thereof.