Contractors place sections of a water pipeline in a trench. (credit: Getty Images/Ross Land)

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Water rates could be going up for residents in many North Texas cities and the hike is the result of Zebra Mussels.

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Zebra Mussels are tiny aquatic life forms that stick to any smooth surface, and can gum up boat engines and motors at municipal water pumping stations.

Officials with the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) say the infestation in Lake Texoma means a new $300 million pipeline will need to be built.

“The North Texas municipal wholesale water rate to the cities that we serve is going to increase by 14-percent, as a result of the instillation and construction of a water transmission pipeline to restore that water supply from Texoma,” NTMWD spokesperson Denise hickey explained.

Water officials say the Zebra Mussel infestation has resulted in a 28-percent loss of water supply from Lake Texoma.

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“With the infestation of the zebra mussels we are no longer able to use that pipeline because it would be transferring the invasive species into the environment,” Hickey said.

The proposed pipeline would run all the way from Lake Texoma to Lake Lavon.

“The transmission pipeline will connect at the end of our original pipeline and we will construct 46 miles of water transmission pipeline,” Dickey said. “So the water will go directly from Lake Texoma, [and] stay within a closed pipeline transmission system, and then will be released at our water treatment plant.”

As far as the potential rate hikes, Hickey says individual cities will determine how to pass along the cost increase to its residents.

As it stands, Plano has already said it will be implementing a 10-percent water rate increase by November 1.

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