COLUMBIA - South Carolina will be allowed to present oral arguments to the nation's highest court as to why utilities and municipalities should stay out of the state's water dispute with North Carolina.

The U.S. Supreme Court did not give a time frame or issue any other comment in making its decision Monday.

The action is the latest in a battle over the Catawba River basin. In 2007, South Carolina filed a federal lawsuit seeking to stop North Carolina from draining the watershed.

The court has appointed a special master to help resolve the dispute. Last year, that special master allowed the city of Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy and a water system to enter the case.

South Carolina wants them off the case, contending they will make it take longer and cost more.