OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Senate on Thursday gave final passage to a bill designed to protect Oklahoma water rights during the consideration of any proposed sale of water to out-of-state interests.

Paul Sund, spokesman for Gov. Brad Henry, said the governor “supports the legislation and will sign it into law.”

The bill, by Rep. Dale Dewitt, R-Braman, and Sen. Ron Justice, R-Chickasha, declares that no out-of-state water permit shall impair the state of Oklahoma from meeting its obligations under interstate compacts with other states.

The Oklahoma Water Resources Board would be required to consider any water shortages or needs across the state when considering applications for water sales to out-of-state entities.

The measure authorizes the OWRB to issue conditional permits for use of water outside Oklahoma and directs it to promulgate rules and apply the provisions of the bill to pending and future water permit applications.

When considering out-of-state applications, the OWRB must consider if the water in question could feasibly be transported to alleviate Oklahoma water shortages.

House Bill 1483 passed the Senate with no dissenting votes.

“Water is not only imperative to rural Oklahoma but to our entire state as well,” Justice said. He predicted that because of the legislation “our water will be protected for years to come.”

Oklahoma is being sued by a group from Dallas and Tarrant County in Texas who want to buy water from southeastern Oklahoma.

A state moratorium on out-of-state water sales expires in November. The lawsuit is scheduled for trial in December.