Two of the three callers during a 15-minute public hearing this week on the Dallas-Fort Worth regional water plan opposed construction of the proposed $4.4 billion Marvin Nichols Reservoir in Northeast Texas.

“This reservoir would devastate a 15-county region of Northeast Texas, would terminate 66,000 aces of prime bottomland and would take three times that much out of production,” Texas Conservation Alliance Executive Director Janice Bezanson said during the teleconference. “There are ways to obtain water that cost less and are not as disruptive.”

Benzanson suggested conservation, recycling and reuse.

“The main beneficiaries of this lake will be engineers, consultants and construction firms,” she said. “We recommend the reservoir be removed from the plan.”

Dallas resident Ben Jones termed the reservoir “inefficient, unwise and un-Texan.”

“I propose Marvin Nichols be removed from the plan because it is an inefficient channel of money to engineering firms and will affect thousands and thousands of land owners,” Jones said.

Speaking on behalf of the reservoir, Lona Hunt of the Upper Trinity Regional Water District, one of three wholesale water providers expected to finance construction, said her group “fully supports and urges the adoption of the Region C plan.”

The controversial lake, included in the Region C Water Planning Group 2021 initial plan, is opposed by Northeast Texas’ Region D planning group. Both plans are expected to be submitted in October for inclusion in the 2022 Texas Water Plan, which will project water needs and anticipated resources for the next 50 years. State law requires there be no conflict between regions in the state plan.

Representatives of the two groups have met unsuccessfully for more than a year to work out an agreement but failed when they could not agree on a timeframe for the lake to be built, if ever.

A public hearing on the Region D plan is scheduled for 5 p.m. June 11 at the Mount Pleasant Civic Center, 1800 N. Jefferson Ave. If COVID-19 restrictions prevent the public gathering, the meeting will be by teleconference, according to Region D Chairman Jim Thompson. Written comment instructions will be included after the public hearing.

The public can submit written comments until 5 p.m. July 27 on the Region C water plan to J. Kevin Ward c/o Trinity River Authority P.O. Box 60, Arlington, TX 76004, or to regioncwpg@thinityra.org.

Both plans will be submitted in October to be included in the 2020 Texas Water Plan.