BONHAM — Fannin County Judge Spanky Carter said the Lower Bois d’Arc Reservoir is going to be a positive thing for Fannin County.
Friday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued its record of decision and granted a permit to allow construction to begin on the Lower Bois d’Arc Reservoir. The North Texas Municipal Water District has been working for over 15 years with federal, state and local officials on planning for the new 16,641-acre lake that will be built northeast of Bonham. Construction is expected to begin in the spring and will be completed by 2022.
Carter said people have been talking about the reservoir, which will provide water to 1.7 million people living in 80 communities in North Texas, since he became county judge.
“It is the biggest thing to happen to Fannin County in the last 50 years,” Carter said.
He said the county expects to finish zoning the property where the lake will be in the next 120 days.
“We are going to have the best zoned lake in Texas,” he said. “Probably over the last five years, land values have at least tripled in Fannin County.”
Carter said he expects the new lake will bring everything from new businesses like marinas to additional housing to the area.
“It’s an easy shot from Dallas County, Collin County, all of those places in the Metroplex, right up 121,” he said.
This will be the first reservoir to be built in Texas in 30 years.
“This is a major milestone for a critical project that will provide water to 1.7 million people living in about 80 communities in North Texas,” NTMWD board President Robert Thurmond said. “The lake will be one of the key sources of water to meet the needs of a growing region expected to double in population in the next 50 years.”
Construction of the project and other system improvements is estimated to cost more than $1.2 billion based on figures from 2016. The Texas Water Development Board has already approved $1.2 billion in low-interest funding for the project through the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas program, which is anticipated to save NTMWD and ratepayers nearly $200 million in financing costs.
Carter said the $1.2 billion that the state is planning to spend to build the project will be the first boon to Fannin County.
The permit granted this week was required under the federal Clean Water Act and involved a process that requires avoiding and minimizing environmental impacts and identifies ways to offset those that do occur, according to a new release issued by the USACE. Agencies that were involved in the process include the USACE, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Texas Water Development Board, Fannin County and the city of Bonham, along with other agencies and organizations.
While Carter was happy to hear about the permit, some in Fannin County are not so happy that the project will be providing water for people to the south. However, Carter said, if Fannin County should need water at some point in the future, there will be a reservoir there to help once it is built.
“Reservoirs are an absolute necessity in the state of Texas where most are manmade,” said Terry Sam Anderson of Mesquite, the longest serving NTMWD member of the Board in the USACE release.
More information about the project can be found online at: www.ntmwd.com/projects/lower-bois-darc-creek-reservoir