Property buyouts for the proposed Lake Ralph Hall in Fannin County should be completed in the near future.
The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) approved by resolution financial assistance in the amount of $45.5 million from the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas (SWIFT) program to the Upper Trinity Regional Water District (Fannin, Collin, Cooke, Dallas, Denton, Grayson, and Wise counties) yesterday. The District will use the assistance to finance land acquisition for the proposed Lake Ralph Hall reservoir and its raw water pipeline.
Water from Lake Ralph Hall will be used to serve the northern counties of the greater Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. In 2015, the TWDB approved $44.7 million in funding for permitting, preliminary design, and land acquisition for this project.
The lake is planned to be constructed in Fannin County just north of Ladonia, less than 10 miles north of the Hunt County line.
In 2002, local officials from Ladonia and Fannin County contacted Upper Trinity with a proposal for a new lake in the area. A pivotal moment came when U.S. Congressman Ralph Hall met with these local officials and gave support to the project, which now bears his name.
The lake is planned help stop the problem of major erosion in the North Sulphur River bed. The river was engineered in the 1920s to be 20 feet wide and only 10 feet deep. But erosion has expanded its size to up to 300 feet wide and up to 60 feet deep.
But there are two problems that the lake is planned to remedy. Aside from the erosion, the lake is expected to help provide water to hundreds of thousands of people.
By state law, the UTRWD must plan ahead 50 years for the water needs of the people it serves, and without the construction of this lake, the district believes that Denton County, where it was founded and based, will experience a severe water shortage in 25 years.
The lake project itself is quite staggering. Planned to encompass a whopping 12,000 acres, the lake is expected to produce upwards of 30 million gallons of water per day for the inhabitants of Fannin and Denton counties.
The lake is also significant as it was the first water supply lake approved by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in 25 years after its permit was approved in 2013 by the TCEQ.
Construction is expected to begin by 2020 and the lake is expected to be filled and operational by the year 2025.
The TWDB is the state agency charged with collecting and disseminating water-related data, assisting with regional planning, and preparing the state water plan for the development of the state’s water resources. The TWDB administers financial assistance programs for the construction of water supply, wastewater treatment, flood control, and agricultural water conservation projects.