Wally Kraft

Capturing water and selling it to the Dallas-Fort Worth area is what Northeast Texas should be focused on for the next 20 years.

That was the opinion of Wally Kraft, Paris veterinarian and Sulphur River Basin Authority vice president, on Monday when he addressed Paris City Council.

“We’re not there yet, and I probably won’t see it in my lifetime; but if we put money in the SRBA, we will reap the benefits down the road — we’re not talking a lot of money; I’m thinking $8,000 to $10,000,” Kraft said, adding “Northeast Texas will retain 20% of all water in any future reservoirs built along the Sulphur River.”

Kraft said authority directors, which are appointed by the governor, are making the rounds to local communities to educate folks about what the Sulphur River Basin Authority is all about.

“You will be hearing from me again,” Kraft said, ending a brief presentation.

Established in 1985 by the Texas Legislature and based in Texarkana, the authority works closely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, according to its website at srbatx.org. It also provides information to the Texas Water Board through the Region D Planning Group.

The basin includes all or part of Fannin, Hunt, Lamar, Hopkins, Red River, Franklin, Titus, Morris, Bowie, Cass and Delta counties. In addition to Kraft, the authority’s seven-member panel includes Brad Drake of Paris, Kelly Mitchell of Texarkana, Gary Cheatwood of Bogata, Katie Stedman, vice president, of Mount Pleasant, Chris Spencer, chairman, of Hughes Spring, and Bret McCoy, vice president, of Omaha.

According to the website, the authority is currently involved in a feasibility study authorized by Congress with a goal of determining 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.”

The study is being conducted as a partnership between the Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District and the Sulphur River Basin Authority. Other partners include the Joint Committee for Program Development, comprised of the cities of Dallas and Irving, the North Texas Municipal Water District, the Tarrant Regional Water District and the Upper Trinity Regional Water District.

Mary Madewell is a staff writer for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6976 or at mary.madewell@theparisnews.com.

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