Region G - Brazos
2001 Regional Water Plan Overview
Basic Plan Facts
- Population is projected to double between 2000 and 2050
- Total capital cost of proposed water supply measures: $523 million
- One new major reservoir (Little River) and five new minor reservoirs planned: New Throckmorton Reservoir, Meridian Off-Channel Reservoir, Groesbeck Off-Channel Reservoir, Somervell County Off-Channel Storage Reservoir, and Brushy Creek Reservoir. Combined, these reservoirs would inundate over 66,000 acres of wildlife habitat and farmland.
What's at Issue?
The 2001 Regional Plan projects that seven cities will have unmet needs by 2050. In addition, thirty counties in the region have projected water shortages to be met in one or more of the six water use categories. While these future demands are due in part to a population increase, they are also the product of the high per capita usage rates of some of the region's municipalities. In consequence, these high demands are driving the need to develop unnecessary infrastructure. Instead of fully incorporating advanced conservation measures into their planning strategies, the region is proposing to rely heavily on the construction of six new reservoirs to meet the majority of their future needs.
In addition to the proposed reservoirs, the region is projecting to increase their groundwater withdrawals from the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer. Many of the region's springs (there are over 130 know in the region), and numerous spring-fed rivers and streams in the region, are at risk of this increase in pumping. This region contains productive farmland and wildlife habitat that is home to nineteen species that are listed as threatened or endangered. These natural resources are also at risk from the proposed water supply strategies.
Here are some of the items the Region G Planning Group must address.
Conservation and Drought Management
For conservation and drought management, the plan needs to...
- Develop a drought management plan.
- Assess current conservation levels.
- Rely on advanced municipal conservation as a water management tool.
- Make recommendations for improving irrigation efficiency. These could include measures such as installing pipelines or lining canals to reduce transmission losses or installing more efficient irrigation systems.
To secure the protection of flows for fish and wildlife, the plan needs to...
Wildlife Habitat and Farmland Protection
- Evaluate alternative water supply strategies for affects on environmental flows. In addition, the plan must discuss how these flows are affected by current projects and existing water permits.
- Identify individual springs, the habitats associated with each, and include information on how aquifer draw down affects spring flows. There are at least 139 known springs in just 10 of Region G's counties alone.
- Designate stream segments in the region that meet the criteria as having "unique ecological value". No segments were designated in the 2001 regional plan. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department recommends 12 segments for designation in this region.
To avoid destroying valuable wildlife habitat and productive farmland, the plan needs to...
- Avoid recommending construction of unnecessary reservoirs. The Little River Reservoir would flood about 35,000 acres, much of which is land that has been farmed and ranched for generations.
To ensure that only the most economically sound water supply strategies are implemented, the plan needs to...
- Compare the costs and benefits of the supply alternatives in a consistent and reasonable manner.
The National Wildlife Federation analyzed the initially prepared plan using their Principles for an Environmentally Sound Regional Water Plan. Please contact us for more information about this analysis.