The North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) announced Feb. 2, 2018, that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has granted a 404 permit to allow construction to begin on the long-awaited Lower Bois d’Arc Reservoir (LBCR) near Bonham, Texas, in Fannin County. The NTMWD said it has been working for more than 15 years with federal, state and local officials on planning for the new lake that will provide water for the growing communities it serves.
The NTMWD said the 16,641-acre (6,731-ha) lake will be the first reservoir built in Texas in 30 years. Construction is planned to begin this spring with completion in 2022.
“This is a major milestone for a critical project that will provide water to 1.7 million people living in about 80 communities in North Texas,” said Robert Thurmond of Wylie, president of the NTMWD board of directors. “The lake will be one of the key sources of water to meet the needs of a growing region expected to double in population in the next 50 years.’
The NTMWD said the permit was required under the federal Clean Water Act, and it involved a thorough and lengthy process that requires avoiding and minimizing environmental impacts—and identifies ways to offset those that do occur. Key agencies and entities involved in the process were USACE, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD), Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), Fannin County and the city of Bonham, along with other agencies and organizations.
“Reservoirs are an absolute necessity in the state of Texas where most are manmade,” said Terry Sam Anderson of Mesquite, the longest serving NTMWD member of the Board. “This historic milestone is a result of significant planning, investment and support from the 13 Member Cities which are represented on the Board of Directors,” Anderson added.
The north Texas congressional delegation, including Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, and Representatives Sam Johnson, Pete Sessions, John Ratcliffe, Jeb Hensarling and Eddie Bernice Johnson, have strongly supported the Lower Bois d’Arc Creek Reservoir, the NTMWD said. This included attending and participating in USACE and EPA Region 6 stakeholder meetings on the reservoir. Members of the district’s delegation also sponsored legislative provisions urging federal agencies to advance the permitting process.
“This has been a tremendous team effort, and we appreciate the support of all involved in the process,” said Tom Kula, NTMWD executive director. “It is a great example of the value and importance of regional water planning and collaboration among communities for the shared need of a long-term, reliable water supply.”
Construction of the project and other system improvements is estimated to cost more than $1.2 billion (2016 dollars), NTMWD said. The TWDB has already approved $1.2 billion in low-interest funding for the project through the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) program, which is anticipated to save NTMWD and ratepayers nearly $200 million in financing costs.
For more on the Lower Bois d’Arc Creek Reservoir project, including business opportunities, visit www.ntmwd.com/projects/lower-bois-darc-creek-reservoir.