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Sulphur River study back on track

By Glenn Evans
June 21, 2011 at 10 p.m.

An exhaustive study of potential water sources for Dallas along the Sulphur River in Northeast Texas is back on track after getting dammed up last winter.

Water planners for Northeast Texas on Tuesday chose two of their own to coordinate with the entity chosen to oversee the study. The multi-year look at the Northeast Texas river will identify potential impacts of several options for developing the Sulphur River as a water source for the Dallas area.

The study first will focus on raising the level of Wright Patman Lake in Bowie County, water planing group administrator Walt Sears said, crediting a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers official.

Progress stalled last year when a joint committee of Dallas and Northeast Texas water planners deadlocked over selecting a local entity to oversee the study.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which will conduct the multi-year study, kicked the project off high center last month by naming its own choice for overseeing entity. The Sulphur River Basin Authority will act as local sponsor, or overseer.

On Tuesday, water planners for Northeast Texas, known as Region D, selected Morris County resident Bret McCoy and Bowie County resident Doug Wadley as go-betweens to the local sponsor.

In addition to adding water to Wright Patman, an option for Dallas is building Marvin Nichols Reservoir, a 68,000-acre lake mostly in Red River County. Local interests have divided over that proposal, which is in the Dallas area's 50-year water plan but not the plan for Northeast Texas.

Sears said a second option, after raising Wright Patman's level, is combining the water capture and delivery resources of Wright Patman and Jim Chapman reservoirs. Both of those are Corps of Engineers lakes.

Marvin Nichols is the third option on the Corps' list, Sears said, using the engineering term for lake-building.

"Additional impoundments are not very well received by some of the citizens that will be affected," Sears said. "What this study does is to look at all of those options."



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