Officials question if Parkhouse lakes would be built

By BRUCE ALSOBROOK | News-Telegram Managing Editor

June 5, 2007 - A meeting has been set up in Tira on June 15 to discuss two reservoir projects, but the point appears to be moot — the lakes don't appear to actually be in anybody's long range plans, and it's a really long range.

Known as George Parkhouse Reservoirs I and II, the two separate lakes would cover about 40,000 acres in southern Lamar, eastern Delta and northern Hopkins counties. The dam would be near the confluence of the North and South Sulphur Rivers, a couple of miles northeast of Sulphur Bluff.

David and Sharron Nabors are organizing the meeting. Sharron is a member of the Region D Northeast Texas Regional Water Planning Group, which oversses water planning for the area.

In a similar meeting in May at the East Delta Community Center in Charleston, David Nabors presented information about the two projects. The Cooper Review reported about 80 people attended, with at least some landowners worrying they would lose their properties and that the government wouldn't pay a fair price for their land. Nabors also said the county would lose tax revenue if the acreage were inundated.

But a letter from Walt Sears, administrator of the Region D Northeast Texas Water Planning Group, to Hopkins County officials today stated it was unlikely the Parkhouse sites would be developed in the next 50 years.

"There is no water management strategy in any approved regional plan for the development of either possible Parkhouse site," Sears wrote. "The approved state plan does not contain a water management strategy of constructing either of the Parkhouse sites within the next 50 years. Without changing the approved state plan and the approved regional plan, it is very unlikely that a permit to construct either of the Parkhouse lakes could be obtained from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality."

"Our District is not aware of any planning that is under way directly related to either of the Parkhouse sites. As far as our District is aware, there is no major water provider presently committed to developing either of the Parkhouse sites. No permits have been requested for either site at this time."

Sears added that the regional water planning process is beginning its third round of planning, and the major issues that will be addressed over the next five years are better utilization of Lake Wright Patman, the possibility of Lake Marvin Nichols becoming a reality, mitigation issues and landowner concerns.

"It is unlikely that any significant amount of time or energy will be devoted to issues related to the Parkhouse sites since the four issues described above are likely to take a large part of the available time and energy," Sears concluded.

State Rep. Mark Homer echoed Sears' words.

"It is always good for citizens to be aware, informed and organized to protect their rights. However, we know of no immediate motion on the Parkhouse I and II proposals," Homer stated. "They are not in either the Region C or D water plans and they are not a designated site under SB 3."

Homer said he will continue to track the issue and make any additional information he receives available to his constituents as soon as possible.

Lindsay Taylor, communications director for State Rep. Mark Homer, noted that the Parkhouse projects have not been included as primary construction sites in Senate Bill 3, the recently passed legislation addressing state water need. The Parkhouse lakes were discussed in a House committee but never made it into the bill.

"As was proposed, both Parkhouses 1 & 2 were designated as alternative water management strategies," Taylor wrote in a reply to an e-mail query from the News-Telegram. "In SB 3,there is no mention of either of the Parkhouses, only Marvin Nichols."

Taylor also indicated she was trying to find out more information the Nabors' have presented.

"I am going to be contacting the Water Development Board today to see if some of their claims about the Sulphur River Basin are accurate," she wrote.

The Parkhouse and Nichols reservoirs are hardly new. Originally called the Sulphur Bluff and Naples projects when plans were drawn up in 1967 as potential water sites, the projects were later renamed Parkhouse and Nichols.

�In 1997, the late Carl Riehn, who was city manager of Sulphur Springs in the early 1960s but at that time executive director of the North Texas Municipal Water District, said NTMWD and Tarrant Regional Water District were eying the projects as a source of water for burgeoning communities north of Dallas and around Fort Worth.

"The North Texas Municipal Water District right now serves about 860,000 people with treated water," Riehn told the News-Telegram in September of 1997. "We're projecting by the year 2005 we'll be serving well over a million, and we have been charged by our board to plan for raw water resources for 2 million people."

The estimates, however, were far too conservative — NTMWD today serves about 1.5 million customers.

Far more likely to be built is Marvin Nichols reservoir, which would touch parts of Red River, Franklin and Titus counties and cover roughly twice as much acreage as Parkhouse.

Region D members have opposed the Nichols project, backed by landowners, timber companies and conservation groups. The Region C WPG, which represents the Metroplex and other parts of North Texas, have Marvin Nichols in their long range plans.

At one point in May, Marvin Nichols was removed from Senate Bill 3, but ended up back in the language in the final hours before as one of 19 new unique reservoir sites in Texas.

But as Janice Bezanson, executive director of the Texas Conservation Alliance pointed out in an analysis of the bill, that doesn't necessarily mean anything.

"Passage of SB 3 means that any reservoir that is recommended in the state water plan as a unique reservoir site will be so designated," she wrote. "It does not necessarily mean they will be built, only that they will carry this designation."








Meeting set

June 15 in Tira

to discuss projects

By BRUCE ALSOBROOK

News-Telegram Managing Editor

A meeting has been set up in Tira on June 15 to discuss two reservoir projects, but the point appears to be moot — the lakes don't appear to actually be in anybody's long range plans, and it's a really long range.

Known as George Parkhouse Reservoirs I and II, the two separate lakes would cover about 40,000 acres in southern Lamar, eastern Delta and northern Hopkins counties. The dam would be near the confluence of the North and South Sulphur Rivers, a couple of miles northeast of Sulphur Bluff.

David and Sharron Nabors are organizing the meeting. Sharron is a member of the Region D Northeast Texas Regional Water Planning Group, which oversees water planning for the area.

In a similar meeting in May at the East Delta Community Center in Charleston, David Nabors presented information about the two projects. The Cooper Review reported about 80 people attended, with at least some landowners worrying they would lose their properties and that the government wouldn't pay a fair price for their land. Nabors also said the county would lose tax revenue if the acreage were inundated.

But a letter from Walt Sears, administrator of the Region D Northeast Texas Water Planning Group, to Hopkins County officials today stated it was unlikely the Parkhouse sites would be developed in the next half-century.

"There is no water management strategy in any approved regional plan for the development of either possible Parkhouse site," Sears wrote. "The approved state plan does not contain a water management strategy of constructing either of the Parkhouse sites within the next 50 years. Without changing the approved state plan and the approved regional plan, it is very unlikely that a permit to construct either of the Parkhouse lakes could be obtained from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

"Our District is not aware of any planning that is under way directly related to either of the Parkhouse sites. As far as our District is aware, there is no major water provider presently committed to developing either of the Parkhouse sites. No permits have been requested for either site at this time."

Sears added that the regional water planning process is beginning its third round of planning, and the major issues that will be addressed over the next five years are better utilization of Lake Wright Patman, the possibility of Lake Marvin Nichols becoming a reality, mitigation issues and landowner concerns.

"It is unlikely that any significant amount of time or energy will be devoted to issues related to the Parkhouse sites since the four issues described above are likely to take a large part of the available time and energy," Sears concluded.

State Rep. Mark Homer echoed Sears' words.

"It is always good for citizens to be aware, informed and organized to protect their rights. However, we know of no immediate motion on the Parkhouse I and II proposals," Homer stated. "They are not in either the Region C or D water plans and they are not a designated site under SB 3."

Homer said he will continue to track the issue and make any additional information he receives available to his constituents as soon as possible.

Lindsay Taylor, communications director for State Rep. Mark Homer, noted that the Parkhouse projects have not been included as primary construction sites in Senate Bill 3, the recently passed legislation addressing state water need. The Parkhouse lakes were discussed in a House committee but never made it into the bill.

"As was proposed, both Parkhouses 1 & 2 were designated as alternative water management strategies," Taylor wrote in a reply to an e-mail query from the News-Telegram. "In SB 3,there is no mention of either of the Parkhouses, only Marvin Nichols."

Taylor also indicated she was trying to find out more information the Nabors' have presented.

"I am going to be contacting the Water Development Board today to see if some of their claims about the Sulphur River Basin are accurate," she wrote.

The Parkhouse and Nichols reservoirs are hardly new. Originally called the Sulphur Bluff and Naples projects when plans were drawn up in 1967 as potential water sites, the projects were later renamed Parkhouse and Nichols.

�In 1997, the late Carl Riehn, who was city manager of Sulphur Springs in the early 1960s but at that time executive director of the North Texas Municipal Water District, said NTMWD and Tarrant Regional Water District were eying the projects as a source of water for burgeoning communities north of Dallas and around Fort Worth.

"The North Texas Municipal Water District right now serves about 860,000 people with treated water," Riehn told the News-Telegram in September of 1997. "We're projecting by the year 2005 we'll be serving well over a million, and we have been charged by our board to plan for raw water resources for 2 million people."

The estimates, however, were far too conservative — NTMWD today serves about 1.5 million customers.

Far more likely to be built is Marvin Nichols reservoir, which would touch parts of Red River, Franklin and Titus counties and cover roughly twice as much acreage as Parkhouse.

Region D members have opposed the Nichols project, backed by landowners, timber companies and conservation groups. The Region C WPG, which represents the Metroplex and other parts of North Texas, have Marvin Nichols in their long range plans.

At one point in May, Marvin Nichols was removed from Senate Bill 3, but ended up back in the language in the final hours before as one of 19 new unique reservoir sites in Texas.

But as Janice Bezanson, executive director of the Texas Conservation Alliance pointed out in an analysis of the bill, that doesn't necessarily mean anything.

"Passage of SB 3 means that any reservoir that is recommended in the state water plan as a unique reservoir site will be so designated," she wrote. "It does not necessarily mean they will be built, only that they will carry this designation."

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