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Home News-Telegram News Water planning group told small suppliers may be forced to consolidate in the future

Water planning group told small suppliers may be forced to consolidate in the future

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Members of the Northeast Texas Regional Water Planning Group (Region D) were told Wednesday that the consolidation of small water suppliers in the 19-county region may be inevitable in the future as a means of dealing with water shortages and financial problems.

In a study of 100 small water systems, engineering consultant Reeves Hayter said only five water suppliers expressed an interest in merging with other suppliers while 95 others showed little interest.

Hayter said consolidations may only happen if severe water or financial shortages occur in the years ahead.

Meeting at Mount Pleasant, the Planning Group also heard from Canton Mayor Rusty Wilson and City Engineer Gary Burton on a proposal to build a new 1,500-acre lake to serve growing water needs in Canton and Van Zandt County.

The lake proposal was announced at a Region D meeting earlier this year. The lake would be built on Mill Creek, about nine miles from Canton. Construction of the lake would also require upgrading the city’s existing water treatment plant.

The lake would produce a yield of five million gallons of water a day to supplement the city’s existing water sources. Canton currently relies on two groundwater wells and will drill a third next year, said Burton, “but for the long term, surface water will be essential to Canton and the surrounding area.”

Mayor Wilson said population projections predict Canton and Van Zandt County will grow six times its current size in the coming years. During the 2000 census, the region had grown by 28 percent, the mayor said.

Canton currently has a population of about 5,000, but on weekends when Canton Trade Days are held in the city, the population approaches 200,000, said Burton. Van Zandt County’s nearness to the Dallas area — 60 miles to the east — is causing much of the growth as people move to rural areas to escape the Metroplex’s growth.

In other activity, the water planning group:

• Announced that nominations are being sought for group members whose terms will begin in September of this year.

• Approved a suggestion by group member Greg Carter of Titus County that the group adopt the 2000 figures for steam-electric water usages for the 2007-2012 planning cycle.

• Approved the same methodology used in 2000 for determining groundwater availability figures for 2007-2012. Group administrator Walt Sears said 32 groundwater systems exist in Region D, and some systems may need additional water supplies in the future.

• Set a date of Wednesday, Aug. 19, for the group’s next meeting. The meeting will begin at 1 p.m. in the Mount Pleasant Civic Center.

• Heard Bud Kendall of Smith County, who spoke during the public comment period, suggest that the state build a 20-foot wide, 10-foot deep stainless steel pipeline from Dallas down Interstate 45 to the Gulf of Mexico, remove the salt from the ocean water, and supply most of East Texas with water instead of building new lakes. The pipeline, he said, would cost $2 billion.

Region D serves all or parts of Bowie, Camp, Cass, Delta, Franklin, Gregg, Harrison, Hopkins, Hunt, Lamar, Marion, Morris, Red River, Rains, Titus, Upshur, Van Zandt and Wood counties.

 

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