Administrative law judges for the State Office of Administrative Hearings recommended approval Tuesday of the pending water rights permit for Lake Ralph Hall, a new proposed reservoir that would be Texas’ first in more than 20 years.
The recommendation moves the proposed new water supply lake one step closer to approval.
Lake Ralph Hall is necessary to avoid a future water supply crisis, according to the Upper Trinity Regional Water District. Upper Trinity serves more than 25 communities in the Denton County area.
“On behalf of the Members and Customers of the Upper Trinity Regional Water District, we applaud the recommendation of the administrative law judges,” said Tom Taylor, Upper Trinity’s Executive Director. “Lake Ralph Hall is critical to meeting the region’s growing water needs; and, the pending permit is one step closer to being approved.
Flower Mound, Upper Trinity’s largest customer, is currently contesting the permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) allowing Upper Trinity to build Lake Ralph Hall. The TCEQ is expected to make a final determination on the pending permit later this year.
“We are, of course, disappointed with the judges’ ruling and the rationale used to make this decision. All we are seeking is for Upper Trinity to look at the cost-effective alternatives to Lake Ralph Hall, saving Denton County residents millions of dollars and postponing the costly construction of the lake until truly needed. We look forward to presenting our case before the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality,” according to a statement from Flower Mound.
An independent analysis of the Lake Ralph Hall project has estimated the cost could be as much as $450 million, according to Flower Mound Mayor Tom Hayden.
“Lake Ralph Hall has the potential to cripple every member of the Upper Trinity Regional Water District if unchecked,” said Hayden.