Regional Service Through Unity...Meeting our Region's Needs Today and Tomorrow

Long-range Planning and Collaboration for Sustainable Water in North Texas

Over the next 30 years, the population that the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) provides safe drinking water for is expected to nearly double. Every year, an estimated 55,000 people move into NTMWD’s service area, including numerous “boomtowns,” as identified by local journalists. In fact, 12 of the 25 boomtowns in North Texas are currently served by NTMWD. Exponential population growth requires planning for the long term and close collaboration with North Texas cities and communities to make sure we can support our water needs today and for generations to come. Long-range water supply planning identifies the next opportunities for how our North Texas water is delivered to residents and businesses and sets a course of action for properly managing and protecting our precious water resources.

As our population and demand for water increase, our access to water supplies must also increase. NTMWD and its Board of Directors continuously review our long-range approach to develop plans that include numerous strategies for the stewardship and development of water sources for daily needs. We collaborate with the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) administrators of the Regional and State Water Planning (SWP) process to address the water needs of all Texans for the next fifty years. These planning processes are vital to delivering water where it needs to go for our service area now and decades into the future.

There is no single solution to ensuring reliable water for future generations, nor is there a simple solution. NTMWD must maintain flexibility throughout the planning process because no single option is guaranteed. Water conservation and water reuse are foundational for Region C’s and NTMWD’s water future. NTMWD already makes use of significant quantities of reused water and pursues water conservation aggressively within our service area and through partnerships in the region. While ongoing water conservation and reuse efforts will help by making more efficient use of existing supplies, it is also clear that the development of new water supplies is required to meet the future needs of Texas. Current planning for future water supplies spans the next 50 years of life, growth, and development in NTMWD’s service area. The projected population growth rate, forecasted water demands, and water supply needs through 2070 are included. Additionally, less predictable scenarios are accounted for in the planning, including drought and climate variability.

Completing Bois d’Arc Lake in 2022, a cornerstone of previous NTMWD’s long-range planning efforts, will be key to meeting our needs into the next decade. It is now delivering essential, safe drinking water to the region and has laid the groundwork for unprecedented economic growth in Fannin County and outlying areas through strategic partnerships. Bois d’Arc Lake took decades to complete and adds to the District’s state water rights held in Lavon Lake, Jim Chapman Lake, and Lake Texoma, which are managed and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Bois d’Arc Lake is the first reservoir wholly owned and operated by NTMWD.

 While developing the latest version of the State Water plan, which is required by law to be updated every five years, NTMWD must consider the following questions:

  • How much will the population within NTMWD’s service area grow?
    • It’s widely recognized that projected population growth could put the North Texas service area close to 3.7 million residents in the next 50 years.
  • How much water will be needed?
    • An additional 360 million gallons of water per day (MGD); however, there is no single solution to meet that demand. North Texas will always need multiple sources and a diverse water portfolio – surface water, reuse, conservation, etc.
    • NTMWD must make efficient use of existing water supplies through reuse and conservation.
    • Even with conservation and reuse, additional water supplies will be needed to meet future demands.
  • How much water does North Texas already have?
    • There are now six primary sources of raw water being treated for delivery to NTMWD’s service area, including Bois d’Arc Lake. There are no guarantees on any water supply, which is why it’s necessary to look at many potential strategies for supplies.
      • Our primary sources of raw water are Lavon Lake, Bois d’Arc Lake, Lake Texoma, Jim Chapman Lake, Lake Tawakoni, and East Fork Water Reuse Project (wetland)
    • How does North Texas approach filling the gap?
      • Future water planning must be holistic. During the planning process, NTMWD and partners must collaborate and be thoughtful about the environment for any potential source—surface or groundwater—while being fiscally reliable and responsible.
    • What factors are reviewed to determine the appropriate water supply strategies for North Texas?
      • NTMWD evaluates all potential water supply strategies through a comprehensive approach that looks at local community support and benefits, environmental impacts, water quality and reliability of supply, regulatory requirements, financial considerations, and project timeline to implementation.
      • NTMWD can maximize the value of a source when partnering with other agencies that must also plan for their communities’ needs. For example, Jim Chapman Lake and Lake Texoma are shared resources with local and regional water suppliers. The recent addition of Bois d’Arc Lake to regional water supplies is available to local communities.

Strategic planning has remained an important function of NTMWD in providing essential water, wastewater, and solid waste services for over two million people every day. The Board of Directors, employees, and key partners have provided valuable input, and significant strides have been taken to adopt a comprehensive long-range water supply plan. As we continue with our prudent planning and environmental stewardship efforts, water conservation and water reuse will continue to be a critical component of the water supply portfolio. It is estimated that around 30% of the water supplied by NTMWD by 2070 will result from aggressive water conservation outreach and collaborative water reuse strategies. Decisions made today will result in decades of reliable, safe drinking water for generations of North Texans who call this region home for their families and businesses. NTMWD remains vigilant in upholding its vision of regional service through unity: meeting our region’s needs today and tomorrow.