By BRAD KELLAR
A new reservoir planned for Fannin County has cleared another hurdle.
Administrative law judges for the State Office of Administrative Hearings recommended approval this week for the pending water rights permit for Lake Ralph Hall.
The recommendation moves the proposed new water supply one step closer to approval. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is expected to make a final recommendation on the pending permit later this year, according to Thomas E. Taylor, executive director of the Upper Trinity Regional Water District (UTRWD).
“Lake Ralph Hall is critical to meeting the region’s growing water needs; and the pending permit is one step closer to being approved,” Taylor said in an announcement issued Tuesday.
Lake Ralph Hall will be a water supply reservoir proposed to be located on the North Sulphur River and Sulphur River Basin near Ladonia under a proposal made by Region C of the UTRWD.
In May 2005, the District included the reservoir in its regional water management plan, which covers the water supply needs for Fannin, Denton, Dallas and Collin counties , plus 12 other counties, for the next 50 years.
The proposal had drawn both support and criticism, including from the Fannin County Commissioners Court, which had initially withheld its approval of the project.
Lake Ralph Hall is predicted to provide approximately 30 million gallons of water per day for the Upper Trinity service area, the City of Ladonia and Fannin County. The Lake is also expected to generate approximately $18 billion dollars in economic benefits for the service area, including $148 million in economic benefits for Fannin County.
“The proposed Lake Ralph Hall is the right size, can be completed in time to protect a potential water supply crisis and is the lowest-cost source of new water supply available for Upper Trinity customers,” Taylor said. “The site of the proposed lake is unique, with no cemeteries, oil or gas wells or pipelines, or transmission lines, and it will make a positive environmental contribution to the area by restoring wetlands and mitigating a long-term soil erosion problem. The lake has strong local support in Denton County, where most of the customers live who will use the water ... and in Fannin County where the lake will be built.”