Dallas Votes to Suck More Water

May 11th, 2006

The Dallas-Ft. Worth area has the highest per capita water use of any city in the state. And while being the biggest water pigs in Texas (264 gallons per person per day compared to 146 for San Antonio) isn’t exactly something to be proud of, it’s not nearly as bad as planning to be the worst.

But that’s what they’re doing. They’re actually planning to use more water than the rest of the state – a LOT more – for the next 50 years!

The problem is, they don’t have enough water in their own region to keep the lawns big and green, run a profligate utility system and completely ignore conservation — as they seem to like to do. But like we said, they do have a plan.

Turns out, their plan is to build a couple of massive reservoirs over in Northeast Texas, flood 104,000 acres of somebody else’s land, and pipe the water back to DFW. Now mind you, this plan isn’t legal under any sane reading of the law. Check out what the National Wildlife Federation says about the legal issues HERE.

The Marvin Nichols reservoir would flood one of the few hardwood bottomlands left in the state, force people off property that has been in their family for generations, destroy thousands of acres of productive forests and farms, kill thousands of jobs, and eliminate a huge swath of some of Texas’ greatest duck hunting.

The Fastrill reservoir would also destroy some of Texas’ best bottlands and flood an area proposed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as the Neches River National Wildlife Refuge. It would also threaten the Big Thicket National Preserve by choking off stream flows on which that world-famous area depends.

Water experts say DFW could easily meet its water needs for the next 50 years through basic conservation measures that most of Texas’ 50 largest cities are already putting in place and by buying available water from existing reservoirs. With a $1.7 billion price tag on Marvin Nichols, these options would be a lot cheaper too.

The one bright spot is that this reservoir plan is such an incredibly bad idea that it has brought together an unusual band of folks. You can’t help but like it when you see environmentalists, property rights advocates, rod-and-gun clubs, the timber industry, scientists, farmers, chambers of commerce and Texas Legislators all get in line together to agree on something.

The opposition has stated pretty clearly that they aren’t rolling over on this deal – they plan to fight it all the way down the line. Check out this story in the Longview New-Journal for more on that, or the Houston Chronicle’s story here.

Stay tuned. This particular colossus of stupidity has been killed before in previous water planning cycles, only to rise again from the dead. TLCV plans to get some licks in during this round and hopefully send Marvin Nichols finally to its grave.