New Manmade Lake to Bring Clean, Quality Water to Rockwall County

Aerial view of the dam for Bois d’Arc Lake


(ROCKWALL, TX — May 31, 2019) Last spring, the North Texas Municipal Water District broke ground on the first major manmade lake Texas has seen in nearly three decades – Bois d’Arc Lake. Recently, the Rockwall County Commissioners Court welcomed an update from NTMWD on the project.

Components of Bois d’Arc Lake

Map of existing and planned raw water supplies for NTMWD (click to enlarge)

Bois d’Arc Lake will encompass 16,641 acres in Fannin County to the northeast of the city of Bonham, providing clean water to all of NTMWD’s member cities, including Rockwall and Royse City. NTMWD Executive Director Tom Kula said due to the amount of annual rainfall in the area, the new reservoir will yield on average about the same amount of water that Dallas currently gets out of Lake Ray Hubbard. Substantial completion of the dam for the lake to hold water is expected in the fall of 2020, with delivery of clean water to the NTMWD service area by the spring of 2022.

Funding for the $1.6 billion project has come entirely from the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT).

From the Lake to the Tap

The two-mile-long, 90-foot-tall dam spans across the northern portion of the lake and will draw water from the reservoir into the raw pump station. The water will then flow down a 90-inch raw water pipeline for 35 miles to a water treatment station in Leonard. After treatment at the Leonard station, the water travels down an 84-inch pipeline to NTMWD’s existing water supply system in McKinney, where it will then be dispersed to all member cities of the water district.

Roadways and Recreation

The new reservoir will also bring various roadway and bridge improvements to the surrounding area in Fannin County. One of the largest projects includes the construction of a new Farm-to-Market road across Bois d’Arc Lake. Known as FM 897, the road will stretch six miles from Highway 82 to FM 1396 and provide access across the lake with a 1.3-mile-long bridge.

Construction, improvement and re-routing of more than a dozen county roads will allow travelers to easily navigate around the lake. In total, the NTMWD will spend more than $50 million to build and improve 11 miles worth of roads in Fannin County.

With the new lake also comes more opportunities for recreational use, including boating, fishing and various picnic areas. Construction on boat ramps and other recreational facilities is expected to begin in the fall this year.

Timeline of the Bois d’Arc Lake project (click to enlarge)

Improving the Environment

Not only will Bois d’Arc Lake provide millions of North Texans with clean, quality water, the project will also have a positive impact on the surrounding ecosystem. Mitigation for the project will bring the restoration and enhancement of 3,200 acres of native grassland, 2,600 acres of forests, and 70 miles of streams.

More than five million trees will also be planted to help counteract the loss of thousands of acres of natural habitat being covered by Bois d’Arc Lake. NTMWD is also working with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to put a fish habitat at the bottom of the new reservoir.

Planning for the Future

Even with the addition of Bois d’Arc Lake, the NTMWD has already begun planning for another additional reservoir in order to keep up with the tremendous growth of its service area. Within the next 50 years, the NTMWD expects to supply water to 3.7 million residents. As the population of its service area increases, so too will the demand for water. To ensure water supply meets the increasing demand, Kula said the Region C Water Planning Group has been working to plan for future water supplies for the NTMWD through 2060.

According to a 2016 chart from Region C representing NTMWD supplies in 2060, 32 percent of water supplies will come from connecting existing supplies, 25 percent from new reservoir projects like Bois d’Arc Lake, 22 percent from current supplies, and 21 percent from conservation and reuse.

“We’re planning for a next possible new reservoir beyond Bois d’Arc Lake,” Kula said. “We’re going to look for the best area that’s going to meet our needs the very best, as we work towards the next water supply after Bois d’Arc Lake.”

Conservation and Reuse

Conservation will play a vital role in meeting the demand for water supply in the next 50 years. The NTMWD – a state leader in water reuse – currently has a main stem pump station and pipeline being constructed along the Trinity River. Upon its completed construction this summer, the Trinity River Main Stem Pump Station and Pipeline will divert river water to the wetlands of the East Fork Reuse Project. Natural aquatic plant life and sunlight will filter out a majority of the sediment, nitrogen and phosphorous in the water as it flows through the wetlands and makes its way 40 miles through an existing pipeline to the north end of Lavon Lake.

“When this project is online, and when we don’t have floodwater in Lavon because we can’t pump out of the wetlands up to Lavon when there’s floodwater out there, these wetlands can provide near the same amount of water supply that Lavon Lake does,” Kula said.

About the North Texas Municipal Water District

For more than 60 years, the NTMWD has provided water, wastewater, and solid waste services for 1.7 million people in one of the fastest growing regions in the country. Created in 1951 by Texas Legislature, the nonprofit government entity currently provides these essential services to 13 member cities: Allen, Farmersville, Forney, Frisco, Garland, McKinney, Mesquite, Plano, Princeton, Richardson, Rockwall, Royse City, and Wylie.

The NTMWD provides affordable, safe and reliable water to 80 communities in a service area of 2,200 square miles in 10 counties. It draws the water to be treated from its five major reservoirs in the North Texas region – Lake Lavon, Lake Texoma, Lake Tawakoni, Chapman Lake and the future Bois d’Arc Lake.

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By Austin Wells, Blue Ribbon News. Photos courtesy of the North Texas Municipal Water District.

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