Ten years after being filed, the Lake Ralph Hall water rights permit was approved Tuesday morning by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).
Lake Ralph Hall is the first major new water supply reservoir to be approved in almost 30 years by the TCEQ.
“We are delighted TCEQ approved the permit for Lake Ralph Hall,” said Thomas E. Taylor, Executive Director of Upper Trinity Regional Water District. “Lake Ralph Hall will help provide a reliable water supply to families and businesses in the North Texas region for many generations.”
The permit to develop the new reservoir was filed in September 2003, and has undergone an extensive series of public hearings, technical studies, legal challenges and judicial review.
Flower Mound, Upper Trinity’s largest customer, was contesting the permit allowing Upper Trinity to build Lake Ralph Hall in favor of looking at more cost-effective alternatives.
An independent analysis of the project has estimated the cost could be as much as $450 million, according to Flower Mound Mayor Tom Hayden.
“The Town of Flower Mound has never been opposed to Lake Ralph Hall. We’ve been opposed to the timing of the project, when Upper Trinity has failed to demonstrate the need for the project or explore more economical alternatives,” said Hayden.
“It is widely known, Dallas Water Utilities plans to bring several additional water sources into use that would further increase the water supplier’s resources, including Lake Palestine, a much larger and economical source of water. Yet, Upper Trinity refuses to discuss purchasing additional water from Dallas Water Utilities until after Lake Ralph Hall is constructed.”
Lake Ralph Hall is approximately 11,200-acres (about the size of Lake Grapevine) and will provide 30 to 45 million gallons of water each day to Denton County and portions of Collin, Cooke, Dallas, Grayson and Wise Counties.
The new reservoir will be located in southeast Fannin County, north of the City of Ladonia, along the North Sulphur River and can be completed in time to avoid a future water crisis, according to Upper Trinity officials.
The project still needs a stamp of approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“Upper Trinity already has the highest rates of water suppliers in the area, and the cost of Lake Ralph Hall will only cause these rates to skyrocket,” said Hayden. “Flower Mound’s greatest concern is that the Upper Trinity Regional Water District is conducting itself as if it has an unchecked credit card and the next generation of Flower Mound and Denton County residents will have to foot the bill.”