Water is an important and limited resource. It is no wonder that wars have been waged over its control. Although no blood was shed about a decade ago, one might be inclined to call discussions over Northeast Texas supplying water to the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex a battle that came to an apparent temporary halt with an April 2008 ordinance protecting Pat Mayse Lake water sales.
The discussion was renewed twice over in the past few weeks, with the Region D water board discussing Region C’s insistence on keeping the proposed Marvin Nichols reservoir — which, if ever pushed through, would occupy 72,000 acres land in Red River, Titus and Franklin counties — in its list of possible future water sites, and when Sulphur River Basin Authority vice president Wally Kraft spoke to Paris City Council about the authority’s work toward a feasibility study to determine what project or combination of projects would optimize the use of existing water resources projects as well as the development of new water infrastructure in order to “support quality of life and economic development within and adjacent to the basin with the least environmental and social impacts.”
Kraft’s opinion that Northeast Texas should be focused on capturing water and selling it to the Dallas-Fort Worth area sparked quite a bit of discussion, with most of it focused on telling the metroplex to sod off and find its own water supply.
But let’s look at a couple of facts: One, “the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area gained more residents than any other metropolitan area in the country and was behind more than a third of Texas’ population growth in that period, according to population estimates the U.S. Census Bureau released” The Texas Tribune reported in April. Two, there are 6.8 million people in the 13-county Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area, compared to just 1.11 million in the 23-county Northeast Texas area. Three, several areas of Northeast Texas are losing population.
Suffice it to say, thumbing our noses at the growing metroplex is not going to work much longer. We need cool heads to come to the table prepared to defend the will of our majority while at the same time prepared to find a solution that is mutually beneficial.
Change is inevitable. Rather than become its victim, we should lead it.