The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has given the green light to the state's first new reservoir in 30 years, a project expected to meet the water needs of North Texas' rapidly growing population for years to come.

Construction of the Lower Bois d'Arc Creek Reservoir will start this spring, northeast of Bonham in Fannin County. The $1.2 billion project will be a key source of water for 1.7 million people living in 80 North Texas communities, a population expected to double over the next 50 years.

"This is a major milestone for a critical project," Robert Thurmond, president of the North Texas Municipal Water District's board of directors, said in a news release. Thurmond represents Wylie, one of 13 member cities on the board.

The new lake, a project of the water district with the help of federal, state and local officials, has been in the works for 15 years. It will measure more than 16,600 surface acres, making it a tad smaller than Jim Chapman (Cooper) Lake, north of Sulphur Springs.

In Texas, where most reservoirs are man-made, they're "an absolute necessity," said Terry Sam Anderson, who represents Mesquite and is the board's longest-serving member. "This historic milestone is a result of significant planning, investment and support."

Much of that support came from members of North Texas' congressional delegation, who met with federal officials and sponsored legislative provisions designed to nudge the permit process along.

The permit, issued by the Army Corps of Engineers' Tulsa District, was required under the federal Clean Water Act. Officials had to assess the project's current and potential environmental impacts and identify measures to offset them.

The project will include a reservoir dam and intake, a raw water pipeline, a water treatment plant, an environmental mitigation area, and roadway improvements and a bridge. Officials also expect the project to spur economic growth and recreational opportunities like fishing and boating.

Construction is expected to be completed in 2022.

"This has been a tremendous team effort, and we appreciate the support of all involved in the process," said Tom Kula, the board's executive director.

Presented by Dallas Morning News, February 2, 2018

 
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