Almost 60 years ago, with this area coming off a nearly seven-year drought, the Tarrant Regional Water District completed a long-range water supply plan to meet the growing needs of North Central Texas.
That plan included construction of Cedar Creek and Richland-Chambers reservoirs near Corsicana, projects that have proved to be very wise decisions by the visionaries who made them happen.
This week the TRWD Board voted unanimously to award a contract for the first phase of construction for the 149-mile Integrated Pipeline Project (IPL) that will bring water from those reservoirs to Tarrant County, providing ample supply for the region until 2030 or 2040.
The $92.9 million contract will fund construction of a 15-mile segment of the pipeline in Navarro County, and is expected to be completed in 2018.
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Being built in partnership with Dallas Water Utilities, the $2.4 billion pipeline will also pump water from Lake Palestine to Dallas. By sharing resources, the TRWD says, the IPL will save an estimated $500 million in capital expenses and potentially $1 billion in energy savings over the life of the project.
With the rapid growth of the Metroplex, which is expected to have a population of more than 13 million by 2060, this kind of planning and execution by water providers is imperative if the area is to have any hope of meeting its water needs for the future.
When the completed pipeline project is operational, perhaps as early as 2021, the water district will be able to pump an additional 197 million gallons per day from the two reservoirs to Benbrook, Star-Telegram writer Bill Hanna reported this week. Dallas could pump up to 150 million gallons per day from Lake Palestine to Joe Pool Lake.
Although construction of the pipeline will affect about 900 landowners, TRWD points out that 99 percent of the project will be underground and out of sight.
For those portions above ground, like pumping stations, the water district said screening will be installed to mitigate sight issues.
The TRWD now provides water for more than 1.7 million people in North Central Texas, and the pipeline is a way to insure that its customers’ needs will be met for years to come.