Irving Needs More of Dallas's Water. And So Does the North Texas Municipal Water District.

LakeLavon.jpg
Flickr: RandomSandy
What remains of Lake Lavon
Speaking of Dallas's water supply ...

I was on US 380 yesterday, headed to Cattleman's Cafe in Blue Ridge for chicken-fried steak, when, driving toward Farmersville, I espied what's left of Lake Lavon, down some 13 feet due to the drought. "It's stunning," in the words of North Texas Municipal Water District spokesperson Denise Hickey. That's one way of putting it.

I called Hickey because I see here that the NTMWD is looking to buy water from Dallas, in large part because Lavon's 47.59 percent full at last look one week ago. That, combined with the fact Zebra mussels have taken over Lake Texoma, is devastating the Collin County water district, which gets 28 percent of its supply from Texoma.

"Purchasing some raw water supply [from Dallas] would help fill in that gap," says Hickey, who notes that the NTMWD currently doesn't buy any water from Dallas. "We have the infrastructure in place where we can move additional supplies from Lake Tawakoni. I am not sure how much Dallas is willing to sell."

As you can see from the city's own look at its water reservoirs' supply. Tawakoni's down more than seven feet. And perhaps you noticed: In the memo Assistant City Manager Forest Turner sent to council at the end of last week, Irving's also looking to buy more water from Dallas, since Lake Jim Chapman, which is maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is emptying at a dizzying pace: It's down close to 80 percent depleted, and provides water to Irving, the NTMWD, Sulphur Springs and three other smaller cities.

I've left messages for Jody Puckett, director of Dallas Water Utilities. But Hickey says the proposal to sell Dallas's water to the NTMWD is expected to go to the Dallas City Council in February.

Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
41 comments
NGO website development
NGO website development

Web Development has a great role in the E-commerce turmoil; efficient web development strategy can help the web business to grow in the new horizon. Any strategy implemented from the root will yield high-quality fruit. So we need to glue the search engine principles to a new site in such a way that, it automatically glide on the traffic graph to a new height.

S Aten
S Aten

Dallas Water Utilities serves about 2 million people.   If any cities that are outside the current service area want our water, they should pay a premium.  Many of these cities have bribed businesses (tax incentives)  to leave Dallas.   Any surplus generated by these extra water sales can pay down the 2 billion dollar debt of Dallas Water.

scottindallas
scottindallas

I believe the price for the water is set by contract, the state, or both.

Cheri Duncan-Hubert
Cheri Duncan-Hubert

Has anyone taken a look at Lake Ray Hubbard?  It is at a competent level because the agreements made allowed Lavon to be stripped when Hubbard went low.  Seems the powers that be need to re-think their agreements.

aggie91
aggie91

Well i think the problem we have down here in Dallas is when we wander up to the suburbs it is hard to miss the miles of beautifully landscaped street medians... even minor streets...  all irrigated.... While we don't even  water the front door to our city (Central Expressway).  

Anon
Anon

The NTMWD is not a Collin County district. It is much larger than that. It was founded in 1951 and currently serves more people than live within the city limits of Dallas.    I suppose the folks saying "Charge 'em out the ass" wouldn't lend a neighbor a cup of sugar? Or, a bit more to the point, toss an extension cord over the fence so the neighbors can keep their fridge running when an ice storm knocks out their power but not your own?  BTW, there's some really great CFS on the square in Decatur at the Peppermill Diner. (And the fried pies are worth the trip all by themselves!) 

Dal Guy
Dal Guy

Prohibit lawn irrigation, period!

DallasDrilling
DallasDrilling

This 'water wars' of sorts is only beginning at City Hall and it's going to end up being another class warfare type of issue. As long as the city manager keeps sweeping it under the rug, very little will come out unless they are prodded or one will have to file an FOI on them. But now with water supplies dwindling, the gas industry has taken to using propane as a lubricant instead of water here in Texas.Doesn't that leave you all warm and fuzzy?

Anon
Anon

Fine, for those who want our water let's charge them 5-10x what the existing market rate is within our own district (use 5x as a baseline and escalate to 10x for water hogs). I'm not going to say that Dallas doesn't have plenty of water wasters, but the reality is that Collin Country's business model is built on taking wealthier, better educated people from Dallas (or attracting them there in the first place) and much of that is based on building new subdivisions with low density and HOAs that penalize brown lawns. (Obviously getting away from DISD helps, but all you're really doing in the suburbs is getting away from the biggest problem children. The education itself isn't very special.) That business model works until it doesn't. There are a number of government subsidies that prop up suburban expansion, all of which have been called "unsustainable" but the reality is that those policies have a lot of inertia behind them and so you can borrow from the future for a long time before paying the piper. As is frequently the case, mother nature ended up being the first one to say "enough is enough" and threaten the future growth of this area unless we get our act together.

Augie
Augie

Yup, but Collin County continues to allow new home permits to be granted by the hundreds daily.  Complete disconnect between the misguided fantasy of unlimited growth is fabulous and the reality of you've got to be able to provide basic services BEFORE you allow the building.  A simple solution that would go a long ways - all new construction must be zeroscaped.  

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Mary Suhm and Tom Perkins negotiated a new master agreement with the roughly 25 - 30 suburban municipalities that Dallas Water Utilities (City of Dallas) currently supplies a couple of years back.  The way I interpret it, the City charges these municipalities a small mark up over actual "cost," but it is a little unclear if the cost is all-in.  Also, the City doesn't have any ability to regulate pricing to end users outside the City of Dallas, so you have some strange situations, like heavy residential users of water in some suburbs paying less for City of Dallas water than they would pay if they lived inside the city limits.

Paul
Paul

The other difference is that Lavon is a NTMWD impoundment and Ray Hubbard is a DWU impoundment.

Also NTMWD is required to release a certain amount of upstream water into Ray Hubbard due to DWU prior claims to water in the East Fork watershed.

Texas is a western state with eastern state water laws.

CollinBabs
CollinBabs

Fear not. Some medians are now irrigated with "gray water" and the trees are embraced by self-watering "gator bags."  Medians are not mowed as frequently now due to budget cuts, and this summer many medians were not watered at all (even with gray water). But, there is still the mindset that image is everything to attract new businesses and people so the appearance of gateways into suburban cities and neighborhoods remains important to civic leaders"up here."

BigTex
BigTex

Wait, what about Sweetie Pies CFS? wow havent heard of the Peppermill Diner......two restaurants on the square ....

Paul
Paul

I guess the difference is, is that DWU has been planning for the future and currently has water in reservoirs that have yet to be connected to the DWU system.

Whereas, NTMWD has Lakes Lavon and Chapman, with rights to water in Texoma and has not built any new reservoirs or secured additional supplies in spite of a dramatic increase in population served.  The member cities of the NTMWD have been allowing new water hookups without, as far as I know, studying the long range impact of this increased demand upon their limited water supply.

Sure I would give a neighbor a cup of sugar in a pinch, but I am not going to give a truckload to the bakery because they didn't order any.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Best in the state. I've been eating there since I was a kid. Worth the drive.

CollinBabs
CollinBabs

Well, if you can get rid of HOAs and the perception that their existence props up property values by making you maintain your landscape, then I'm ok with ripping up my lawn and xeriscaping even more than I currently do.

Paul
Paul

"But now with water supplies dwindling, the gas industry has taken to using propane as a lubricant instead of water here in Texas."

Huhhh????  Would you please let us know from where you got this piece of information?

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

And lets not forget that Collin Co. closed its public hospitals, dumping its uninsured poor into Parkland at Dallas Co. taxpayer expense.

MattL1
MattL1

I agree.  Charge 'em out the ass for the stuff.  It won't affect our water bills, but it probably WILL affect how these other municipalities approach their water usage policies in the future.  That would be a benefit to the whole region.  

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

"let's"Remember, regardless of how much they charge, it won't affect your bill as a buyer. I mean, unless you actually own the resource. Right now it's better to land on Water Works than it is to land on Boardwalk or Park Place. The number on the card rarely changes.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Hundreds daily? I don't disagree with your philosophy (xeriscaping, not zeroscaping, btw), but your number and your solution are both rather exaggerated.

scottindallas
scottindallas

As I understand it, the price the city charges other cities is a function of what we citizens are charged--though less than what we are charged, but as you say, above cost.  This pertains to those regularly supplied by Dallas Water.  The special transfers we are discussing may be on different terms.  I remember Mary (or Laura) saying we were seeing price increases to cover the replacement of antiquated water mains.  So, hopefully they've finally begun to capture the full cost of our water supplies in our water bills.

Anon
Anon

Sweetie Pies is ok. Peppermill is better. But the fried pies. When do you want to go?

CollinBabs
CollinBabs

Failure to plan is the main reason why we're in this situation. Vision and planning have been sorely lacking in much of north Texas, especially Collin County, for quite some time. Infrastructure has taken a back seat to the greed of tax revenue/development/rooftops without thought given to whether resources can support/maintain such growth.  Political and financial gain leapfrogged responsible sustainability. But how can we have faith in any leadership when a city allows 700,000 gallons to be drained out of a water tower -- and run through neighborhood streets -- because the tower's interior needed to be painted. (Hello, how about a tanker truck to share this water with citizens who are forced into curtailment?) And that same city is selling water to a neighboring city to support its new housing developments (but a recent article states this water is surplus)? Contracts are negotiated for the long term at rates which are locked in regardless of the amount of water used, but citizens are encouraged to use less and then their water rates go up because revenue went down due to conservation????  HUH????  Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - you can't make this stuff up!

The thing that will force me out of Texas is the hardship of electricity and water crises created by such ineptitude. People in Dallas can feel pretty smug right now and get their jollies throwing tomatoes at suburban neighbors, but don't get too comfortable. I don't claim any superiority of one county over another - it's a REGION, folks.

Don
Don

Have you had Mary's CFS in Strawn???  This is a really big deal this claim of yours...  not saying I don't believe you but now I will have to make that trip and compare for myself. Too bad it's not close to Dublin Dr. Pepper like Mary's is...

S Aten
S Aten

There is a company in Canada that has drilled over 1,000 wells all over the world including Texas using propane gel instead of water.

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

Yep yer right; even a fule kno its let's.

Anon
Anon

I wouldn't expect it to lower my bill (and in any event I don't want it to - I think water is an underpriced natural resource as is). What it would do is make up revenue shortfalls in other parts of the city budget.

CollinBabs
CollinBabs

Perhaps Augie's perspective is influenced by the occasional announcements coming out of Collin County about massive new housing developments? For instance, Frisco recently announced a 4000-9000 rooftop housing development with much fanfare. Plano just approved another large multi-family housing development.  All these will use water and electricity, further straining limited resources.

CollinBabs
CollinBabs

New construction in McKinney, Frisco and Allen has landscaping requirements now which require drip irrigation and installation of certain types of xeriscape/low maintenance plant material -- so, some communities are wising up.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

At the retail level, heavy suburban residential users of water (15,000 gallons per month and above) supplied by Dallas Water Utilities pay substantially less than a City of Dallas residential customer would be charged.

In some cases, the suburban discounts are greater than 50% off the comparable Dallas resident rate--- and, again, this is for the identical product:  water supplied by Dallas Water Utilities.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

 I could use a chocolate fried pie, or a dozen, if y'all are going. Lemme know how much I owe you.

Paul
Paul

Some good points ... I'm not throwing tomatoes though the fact remains what planning has the NTMWD done to secure the adequacy of the water supply in light of the population growth of the systems it supplies.

As far as NTMWD's rate structure goes, this is one of the difficulties of how to ensure that the bonds sold for financing the infrastructure can be repaid.

The difference with DWU is that it is set up as a corporation and is exempt from the payment of income taxes.  This allows DWU to finance bonds based on indebtedness and future cash flow streams and the ability to service the debt.  Any surplus generated by DWU must be reinvested in its system.

hth

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Mary's is good, and worth it if you're out that way anyway. But if you're going to pass a couple Babe's to get there....well, just stop at Babe's.

Don
Don

The trip to Cattleman's is already in motion.  A week from tomorrow...  you in??  Mary's may have to wait til January since we just went about 2 weeks ago...

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

I'll admit it: Nope. Haven't. But my parents, with whom I made the trip to Blue Ridge yesterday, go all the time -- and swear by it. But they insist: Cattleman's is better, by just a lil' bit. Road trip?

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

Around The Web

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...