Public hearing on regional water plan set for Tuesday, Aug. 2
From Staff Reports

July 27, 2005 - The Region D Northeast Texas Regional Water Planning Group will hold a public hearingTuesday, Aug, 2, on its initially prepared version of a new 50-year water management plan for 19 counties within its territory, which includes Hopkins County.

    The hearing will begin at 7 p.m. in the Civic Center in Gilmer. Copies of the plan are available for public review in courthouses and libraries of each of the 19 counties in the region.

    The initial plan was submitted to the Texas Water Development Board for review in June, with the final plan to be submitted in January.

    The Northeast Texas Region D covers of all or portions of Bowie, Camp, Cass, Delta, Franklin, Gregg, Harrison, Hopkins, Hunt, Lamar, Marion, Morris, Red River, Rains, Smith, Titus, Upshur, Van Zandt, and Wood counties.

    he initially prepared plan, adopted recently in Mount Pleasant, states both population and water demands in Northeast Texas are projected to grow by about 72 percent between 2000 and 2060.

    The largest population growth is expected to occur in Hunt, Smith and Bowie counties. The largest water demands are expected to come from manufacturing, municipal uses and steam electric power generation.

    The draft plan also includes these recommendations to the state:

    1. Water audits for municipalities where the usage is greater than 140 gallons per capita each day, statewide water conservation education efforts, and the identification of water losses where the loss is greater than 15 percent.

2. That a proposed pipeline from Toledo Bend Reservoir to Prairie Creek Reservoir be designated a supply strategy for meeting water needs in Northeast Texas and adjoining Region C, which includes Dallas.

    3. That planning groups or other entities proposing a new reservoir undertake an effort to address the subject of mitigation "as early in the process as practical and as fully as possible." Mitigation is the federal practice of mandating the set-aside of additional lands as wildlife habitat when new reservoirs inundate habitats.

    4. That the Texas Railroad Commission review the practices and regulations concerning the protection of fresh water supplies located in aquifers around oil and gas wells.

    5. That the Texas Water Development Board provide funding for an in-depth study of groundwater-supplied public water systems which may have difficulties in complying with federal drinking water standards.

    6. That studies be undertaken to determine if regional approaches to water supply are economically viable.

    7. That Texas water planning guidelines permit greater flexibility for calculating water demand projections, to allow for multiple options to be considered as water strategies, and to deal more effectively with inter-region conflicts.

    The 2006-2010 plan does not include Marvin Nichols I Reservoir, a contemplated 62,000- to 77,000-acre lake on the Sulphur River mostly in Red River County, as a water supply/management strategy for the region.

    The lake was not considered essential for water supply needs in Northeast Texas within the current planning horizon. However, it has been proposed as a water source by Region C, and in some Metroplex-area municipal water districts' plans.

Members of the Northeast Texas planning group expressed opinions that construction of the lake was not in the best interests of Northeast Texas because of its impact on landowners and the region's timber economy and other factors.

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