The planned North Texas Municipal Lake in Fannin County will be the first major reservoir built in the region in 30 years, but the name of the impending body of water has not been a major hit with area residents.
North Texas Municipal Water District officials broke ground on the reservoir project last month and announced the lake, which had previously been known as the Lower Bois d’Arc Creek Reservoir, would be called the North Texas Municipal Lake. Since that announcement, NTMWD officials have heard concerns from local residents.
“We have been receiving and listening to feedback from Fannin County residents about the new name announced at the groundbreaking event last month and understand the desire to preserve the history and heritage of the region with a different name,” NTMWD officials said in a statement released Friday. “We are working with Fannin County elected officials to get consensus from the county on a different name (such as Bois d’Arc Lake) that they would like our Board of Directors to consider and will present this input to the Board.”
The lake received its final approval in February after more than a decade of work. That period included a significant time when zebra mussels, an invasive species found in Lake Texoma and across the country, kept NTMWD from accessing the water storage it owns in Lake Texoma and put a strain on the district’s ability to serve customers.
NTMWD will build, own and operate the 16,641-acre lake located northeast of Bonham and northwest of Honey Grove. A 90-foot dam will create a lake capable of storing 120 billion gallons. With the population of North Texas expect to double over the next five decades, the additional water supply is considered essential for the region.
NTMWD provides drinking water to all of Rockwall County; virtually all of Kaufman County; significant portions of Collin and Hunt counties; and smaller sections of Grayson, Fannin, Hopkins, Rains, Dallas and Denton counties. Currently the organization only provides water to Bonham in Fannin County, but Kula said in Fannin County NTMWD only provides water to Bonham currently, but NTMWD Executive Director Tom Kula said the district plans to build a water treatment plant in Leonard that would make treated water available to other communities in the county.
However, there is a four-year timeline before water can begin to be taken from the new lake, Kula said.
In its statement, NTMWD said its relationship with the people of the county is one of great value to it and the organization wants to be “good neighbors and partners in the future.”
Despite the controversy over the name, the announcement of the reservoir was a big one for the county and county citizens were excited to hear the news from the NTMWD.
“This is the biggest thing that’s happened to Fannin County in the last 80 years,” Fannin County Judge Spanky Carter said last month, comparing it to the Rural Electrification Administration that brought electricity to households in rural areas across the county in the 1930s.
Carter said the reservoir assures Fannin County citizens will have water for the next 100 years.
“When we go through these droughts — water is a precious, precious item and you need water,” Carter said. “If you want industry to come to your county, you need water, and this assures Fannin County is going to have the water it needs to grow. It’s going to have water for our children and our grandchildren.”
Once the county and its elected official come to a consensus on a name for the lake, the matter will be discussed at the NTMWD board meeting in July.
The lake will also be for recreational use and is expected to provide a local economic boost of $509 million during construction and $166 million each year once complete. Last month, Kula said Texas Parks and Wildlife is planning to add fish habitat structures to the lake before it is filled to enhance the recreational opportunities.
“We’re creating much more than a lake,” Kula said. “Our mission is to provide a reliable long-term water supply for our North Texas communities and that requires critical infrastructure to treat and deliver the water to our growing member and customer cities.”
Related project components include constructing a pump station, installing a 35-mile raw water pipeline, improving various roads in Fannin County and building a mile-long bridge across the future lake. The District will also plant over 1.6 million trees, introduce 2,900 acres of other herbaceous plants and improve 40 miles of local streams. Water from the lake will flow to a separately planned new water treatment plant in Leonard with the initial capacity to treat up to 70 million gallons per day which will be transported through a planned treated water pipeline that will extend the northern part of the regional water system.
Herald Democrat Executive Editor Jonathan Cannon contributed to this article.