Nearly 250 people attended the Town Hall Meeting on February 19 to obtain the current information on the drought and Lake Ray Hubbard conditions from the City of Dallas, which owns the water reservoir. The presentation was made by Ken DelRegno, assistant director for Dallas Water Utilities, and all attendees had an opportunity to ask questions.
A video of the program can be viewed below, but here are a few facts shared:
- The City of Dallas owns Lake Ray Hubbard, which provides water to Dallas customers.
- The City of Heath is a water customer of the North Texas Water Municipal District via the City of Rockwall. However, Lake Ray Hubbard is important to our community for many reasons including aesthetic, recreation and property values.
- Lake Ray Hubbard was built as a result of the 1950-1957 drought, when Dallas had only one reservoir.
- The current drought began in 2010; 2011 was the worst one-year drought on record; and North Texas experienced the lowest one-month precipitation on record in September 2014.
- Dallas’ water supplies are currently 33.75% depleted.
- The major water suppliers for NTWMD are equally low: Lake Lavon is 51.2% depleted; Lake Chapman is 70.8% depleted.
- Both service providers have adopted conservation programs, with NTWMD restrictions being the most extensive.
- Both entities have long-range water plans that include tapping new supplies; however, these plans focus on solutions for providing water to a growing population that is expected to double by (when), not the drought.
- Dallas will invest $1 billion to build a pipeline from Lake Palestine; this project will not be completed for 10 years.
- The Texas Water Development Board has $1 billion earmarked for water projects throughout the state.
- Dallas is not selling water from Lake Ray Hubbard to other entities.
- The Zebra Mussel problem continues to impact Lake Texoma availability; consultants have been retained to determine how to rid water supplies of the invasive species.
- Residents/businesses around Lake Ray Hubbard have asked Dallas about dredging while the lake is down; this work is cost prohibitive for multiple reason including a lack of soil disposal locations.
Long range plans are in place to provide water to a growing population; but only rain can alleviate the impact of the drought. “Just a couple of years of normal rain fall would fill the lakes back up,” said Mr. DelRegno.
“As we plan for the City’s growth, we are looking at long-term plans that are five, 10 and 30 years out to ensure that we can provide citizens a safe and pure water source,” said Mayor Lorne Liechty in closing the Town Hall meeting.