Reporting Jason Allen
FLOWER MOUND (CBSDFW.COM) – If it fills up, Lake Ralph Hall is supposed to fill Denton County’s water needs. Opponents though are making one last push to keep it dry, before a Tuesday hearing starts in Austin.
Flower Mound mayor Tom Hayden appealed to the Upper Trinity Regional Water District Thursday to postpone the project and look for cheaper alternatives. Hayden fears the costs of the $275 million lake will fall primarily on the backs of Flower Mound residents, who make up the largest portion of the district’s customers.
“We believe that the Dallas district could supply the Upper Trinity with water, at a rate that’s half what it would cost to build this lake,” Hayden said.
Environmental groups are expected to join Hayden in opposition to the project in front of an administrative law judge which will make a recommendation to the TCEQ for a permit.
The lake would be built near Ladonia in Fannin County. An eroding, irrigation channel on the North Suphur River would form the backbone of the lake, which would eventually be similar in size to Lake Grapevine, but with more water. The water district has pursued the lake as necessary to meet water needs that will surpass supply sometime after 2030.
In an emailed statement, the district said: Lake Ralph Hall is a critical project, necessary for Upper Trinity Regional Water District and the North Texas region to avoid a future water supply crisis. The State of Texas has confirmed in the Texas Water Plan the need for Lake Ralph Hall. Just look around Texas and the Midwest – - at the severe drought now underway. There is overwhelming support for this vital project.
Next week, the merits of the Lake Ralph Hall project will be subject of hearing before administrative law judges in Austin. Based on evidence submitted at the hearing, these judges will hear all sides and make a recommendation on the merits of Upper Trinity’s application to the TCEQ. With the critical need for this project, and the overwhelming support it has across Texas, Upper Trinity is confident of the outcome for the Lake Ralph Hall project.
Hayden said he’s willing to drop opposition if the UTRWD would agree ask Dallas about supplying water or look for cheaper options.
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