Lake Ralph Hall, Texas' First New Reservoir in Decades, Gets Final OK From State

LakeRalphHallMap.jpg
The future Lake Ralph Hall
U.S. Representative Ralph Hall isn't dead. The Rockwall Republican hasn't even left Congress, forging ahead in a Bob Barker-like battle against the ravages of the time. Despite all that, Hall is now the namesake of a reservoir.

Lake Ralph Hall hasn't actually been built yet. The project, planned for 12,000 acres in Fannin County, about 80 miles northeast of Dallas, has been in the works for a decade as the Upper Trinity Regional Water District has sought to lock up an extra 30 to 45 million gallons of water per day for its exploding population. Otherwise, it predicts that Denton County will run out of water by 2025.

The lake is now one huge step closer to reality. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality approved water use permits for the lake on Thursday, the second-to-last major hurdle. Upper Trinity makes its case to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Even when the lake is completed (the current estimate is 2023), it will do relatively little to slake North Texas' growing thirst over the long term. According to the Texas Tribune, Ralph Hall will provide less than one-tenth of what the region will need by 2060.

Yet the project has the potential to be a game-changer. TCEQ's decision today makes Ralph Hall the first new water supply lake in Texas to be approved in a quarter century. It's also being viewed as a bellwether for the state's long-term water supply plan, which include the construction of more than two dozen new reservoirs.

Here's how The Dallas Morning News put it in a recent editorial:

For North Texas, which gets its water largely from surface supplies, that means it is depending on a system created largely in the 1960s -- and it took the killer drought of the 1950s to get that in place.

If the state cannot issue a permit for Ralph Hall, which is not a mammoth lake, what does that forecast for Texas' ability to build the other reservoirs that are part of its 50-year water plan? Not much good, that's for sure.

There remains some opposition to Ralph Hall. Environmentalists want the state to focus more on conservation, and Flower Mound doesn't want to pay higher water bills.


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24 comments
cawnlu
cawnlu

So are they going to install the zebra mussels when they build the lake, or will they be "phased-in" later? Seems it would be cheaper to go ahead and include them in the construction process.

hall16243
hall16243

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schermbeck
schermbeck

"U.S. Representative Ralph Hall isn't dead." Are we certain of that?

TexMarine
TexMarine

Don't worry. When Denton runs out of water, they'll drink Braundo.

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

Once upon a time it was considered bad form to name a lake/park/highway after a living politician.  The naming was posthumous as a sign of respect.  Now there is no shame on the part of those sucking up to the ego of the political elite or the politicians themselves.. 

jettrink
jettrink

How appropriate to name a lake after Hall, who didn't lift a finger to help his constituents at Lake Texoma when the Corps of Engineers decided to move their survey markers after 55 years, taking almost half the lots of those involved.  It was all for a grand drive for a Corps/Grayson County crony. 

Three heart attacks and a death among the victims didn't move him or the Corps, either...

Greg820
Greg820

Isn't there a constitutional ammendment stating that anything in Fanin county named after a human being must be "Sam Rayburn?"

RhetoricalQuestion
RhetoricalQuestion

Of course environmentalists want to focus on 'conservation,' the classic code word for government imposed restrictions on how we go about our lives. 

Is not a new reservoir also a conservation of water? It consolidates and accrues water in one place. Can't get much more conserving than that.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@schermbeck 


The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm not dead.

The Dead Collector: What?

Large Man with Dead Body: Nothing. There's your ninepence.

The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm not dead.

The Dead Collector: 'Ere, he says he's not dead.

Large Man with Dead Body: Yes he is.

The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm not.

The Dead Collector: He isn't.

Large Man with Dead Body: Well, he will be soon, he's very ill.

The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm getting better.

Large Man with Dead Body: No you're not, you'll be stone dead in a moment.

The Dead Collector: Well, I can't take him like that. It's against regulations. 

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Tipster1908
Tipster1908

@RhetoricalQuestion So you don't want the government telling people what to do, but you're completely fine with them forcibly taking real estate from property owners to create the resevoirs?

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@RhetoricalQuestion  

One of the main problems with reservoir construction is that no significant weight is given to the unique habitats in these bottomland/floodplain areas.  One day it will be as in the Joni Mitchell song: "The paved paradise and put up a parking lot ..."

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

@RhetoricalQuestion I think the environmentalists are a tad worried -- and justly so -- that our habits put undue strain on the water supply for this region. As just one example: Planting non-native, water-slurping grasses in hundreds of thousands of yards ain't too smart. And yes, if you don't want this place to become a dust bowl in 100 years, you can bet some regulations regarding people's behavior are in order.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@Tipster1908 @RhetoricalQuestion   They get fair market value for the land.  If you've got a problem with Eminent Domain, you have an issue with hundreds of years of Common Law.   For many, their land in the boonies, is now lake front property, that's a boon for them. 

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@CogitoErgoSum @RhetoricalQuestion without the grass, we might well be a dust bowl.  These matters aren't so simple.  Further, wouldn't many new resevoirs actually mitigate global warmings, rising oceans?   NEVER, NEVER do these climate alarmists ever find mitigating factors to their fears and scaremongering.

Greg820
Greg820

@CogitoErgoSum @RhetoricalQuestion Every dollar I spend to water my lawn could be spent on something far more important--beer.  When it was time to upgrade our landscaping we disconnected the spinkler system and when to drought tolerant plants, ground cover, crushed granite and wood chippings.  It looks great and I have more beery money to boot.  It is win-win.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@Greg820 @Sotiredofitall no green year round, Horseherb goes dormant in Winter, returns from seed each year.  Wood Violets go dormant in Summer and are green most of the Winter.  The combo is great and can be mowed.  however, neither is a substitute for sun, rather, these are great if you've got shade. 

Greg820
Greg820

@Sotiredofitall @Greg820 Thats a neat one!  We have used a lot of Horseherb.  It's green year around, takes mild foot traffic, and it's native.

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