North Texas water plan calls for $2.7 billion in new dams

A long-range regional water plan for north central Texas calls for the construction of two large dams for new reservoirs at a total capital cost of nearly $2.7 billion.

The regional water supply plan, approved by the Texas Water Development Board in April, recommends major water management strategies through 2060 for Region C, 16 counties surrounding Dallas-Fort Worth.

The recommendations include construction of a $2.1 billion Marvin Nichols Dam on the Sulphur River and a $569 million Lake Fastrill Dam on the Neches River. Marvin Nichols would supply about 490,000 acre-feet of water annually, while Lake Fastrill would supply 113,000 acre-feet.

However, Marvin Nichols would be built in northeast Texas, Region D, which is served by a different water planning group, while Lake Fastrill would be located in east Texas, Region I, served by a third water planning group. Local news reports indicated the plan for Region C was opposed by Region D land and business owners, Region I conservationists, and some residents.

The Region C Regional Water Plan recognizes that additional studies will be needed to fully evaluate the potential effect of proposed reservoirs. State and federal permitting processes are in place and designed to ensure the resources are protected.

Texas water law requires new regional and state water plans to be prepared every five years. Regional water plans adopted by 16 water planning groups were delivered to the TWDB in January. Once approved by the board, the regional plans become part of a state water plan TWDB is to submit to the Legislature by Jan. 5, 2007.

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