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Liquid Assets: The State of Texas’ Water Resources

Region D Plan


North East Texas Region (D)

Region D Map

Text Description of Map of Region D.

Exhibit 16: Map of Region D

Region D, also known as the North East Texas region, comprises 19 counties as well as the cities of Longview, Marshall, Greenville and Texarkana (Exhibit 16). Large portions of the Red, Cypress, Sulphur and Sabine river basins and smaller portions of Trinity and Neches river basins are located in the area. The region’s major industries are agriculture, oil and natural gas production, forestry and power generation.

To meet the region’s projected water demands in 2060, the Region D planning group recommended seven water management strategies that would provide 108,742 acre-feet of additional water supply by 2060. The projected total capital cost for these projects would be approximately $32.5 million. The region’s water management strategies fall into two general areas, groundwater and surface water (Exhibit 17).28

The most challenging issue the region faces, however, is the potential development of its own surface water for use by the much more populous Region C. Region D opposes the development of the Marvin Nichols Reservoir as a water management strategy for Region C.

Exhibit 17

North East Texas Region (D) Water Management Strategies

Description Capital Costs Water Gained in Acre-Feet Average Capital Cost per Acre-Feet
Groundwater $27,764,102 7,806 $3,557
Surface Water $4,815,605 100,936 $48
Total $32,579,707 108,742 $300

Note: Capital cost figures do not include administrative, programmatic or other costs that may be required to implement water management strategies.

Source: Texas Water Development Board.

Status of Major Water Projects and Strategies

The most costly strategy in Region D’s plan involves new groundwater wells, many of them being drilled by Crooked Creek Water Supply Company over the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer. Some of these wells have already been completed. A project to drill two additional wells in Wood County, for example, was completed in 2008 at a cost of about $1.5 million. Other projects are in progress and still others are in the planning stages, with additional wells to be drilled as needed.29

Region D has five surface water strategies to obtain new surface water contracts and extend and increase existing contracts. Most of these strategies move water from Toledo Bend Reservoir to Lake Tawakoni or Lake Fork in Hunt County for agricultural needs. Region D will establish new surface water contracts as needed starting in 2010 and continuing through 2050. Some new contract procurement projects are already under way; Brightstar-Salem Utility District recently obtained a surface water contract from Sabine River Authority that will provide 9,000 acre-feet of water for the city of Marshall.30

According to TWDB, failure to implement these strategies could cost residents of Region D $135 million in income and 1,060 full- and part-time jobs by 2010 and more than $320 million in income and nearly 2,600 jobs by 2060. State and local governments could lose $23 million in annual tax revenue by 2010 and some $50 million by 2060.31

Regional Challenges and Successes

Region D has significant water quality and distribution problems. Due to high levels of naturally occurring iron and manganese ore deposits, groundwater in parts of the region must be treated to remove these elements. In addition, because the region’s is primarily rural in nature there is very little water distribution infrastructure. Building pipelines could be very costly to obtain available surface water.

The most challenging issue the region faces, however, is the potential development of its own surface water for use by the much more populous Region C. As noted above, Region D opposes the development of the Marvin Nichols Reservoir as a water management strategy for Region C.

According to the Region D water planning group, Region C’s strategy to develop a reservoir in Region D as a future water source does not follow state law because it inadequately protects the area’s water, agriculture and natural resources. In addition, Region D planners believe that Region D’s concerns were overlooked by Region C and TWDB alike through the inclusion of the Marvin Nichols Reservoir water management strategy in the State Water Plan.32

Endnotes

  • 28 Texas Water Development Board, Water for Texas 2007 (Austin, Texas, January 2007), Volume II, p. 337, http://www.twdb.state.tx.us/publications/reports/State_Water_Plan/2007/2007StateWaterPlan/APP%202.1_final%20112906.pdf. (Last visited January 1, 2009.)
  • 29 Interview with Stan Hayes, president, Hayes Engineering, Longview, Texas, November 19, 2008.
  • 30 Interview with Walt Sears, executive director, North East Texas Regional Water Planning Group, Hughes Springs, Texas, November 19, 2008.
  • 31 Texas Water Development Board, Water for Texas 2007, Volume II, p. 251.
  • 32 Interview with Jim Thompson, chairman, North East Texas Regional Water Planning Group, Atlanta, Texas, October 31, 2008.
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