In the Midst of Historic Drought, Council to Look at Dallas's Long-Range Water Supply Plan

The plan to siphon off the water from Lake Palestine, which is just southwest of Tyler, has been around for close to four decades; in '72 Dallas acquired the contractual rights to the lake, at a rate of 102 million of gallons of per day. In 2007, the city council was reminded: Dallas had "The Lake Palestine Connection," via a mammoth pipeline that would bring enough water to keep Dallas wet till 2060.

In November 2010, the city and the Tarrant Regional Water District got married over the deal: The TRWD and the city entered into a so-called Water Transmission Facilities Financing "to fund Dallas' reserved capacity right of 150 million gallons per day in a joint pipeline" -- a pipeline that'll cost around $1.6 billion, with the city paying $1 billion toward the project due to commence construction some time in 2013. The cost of the pipeline will be spread out over a decade, one reason among many your water bill will go up every year from now till ... well, forever?

But after the pipeline, what next? That's the question the council will take up Wednesday when it's briefed on "Dallas' Long Range Water Supply Plan." We'll cover then; but you can sneak peek today.

The state's working on its own solution: the 2012 Draft State Water Plan, which the Texas Water Development Board will vote to approve November 17 before it goes to the governor and the Legislature. But Dallas hasn't taken a long, hard look at its own plan since the Dallas Long Range Water Supply Plan of '05, a big hunk of which depended on conservation and reuse -- and cast a glance out at East Texas, where, per the briefing before the council on Wednesday, rainfall amount of higher, which is why "most future reservoirs are planned in East Texas." But the council's been warned: "All new reservoirs or changes in reservoir operations are controversial and face opposition." Look no further than the proposed, planned-for Fastrill reservoir site, killed by the courts. Says the city now:

Due to the creation of the Neches River National Wildlife Refuge on the Fastrill reservoir site, alternative strategies are being considered that include but are not limited to additional water conservation, Lake Texoma, Toledo Bend Reservoir, Lake 'O the Pines, Lake Livingston, groundwater, Marvin Nichols Reservoir, Lake Columbia, George Parkhouse Reservoir (North), George Parkhouse (South), Oklahoma water and Neches River Run-of-the-River.

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