2001 Regional Water Plan Overview
Basic Plan Facts
- Population in this planning area is projected to double from 2000 to 2050
- Total capital cost of proposed water supply measures: $1,218 million
- Two new major reservoirs proposed in the region: Allen's Creek Reservoir and Bedias Reservoir. These reservoirs would inundate 27,400 acres, and 7,000 acres of habitat, respectively. An additional proposed reservoir - Little River - would be located outside the region in Milam County.
What's at Issue?
For a number of reasons, this region provides an example of tentative steps in the right direction. First, it was one of only a handful of regions that incorporated advanced conservation measures into their planning efforts. Unfortunately, while the measures were extended to both municipal and agricultural water users, they seemed to only be included in geographic areas that have projected shortages. Secondly, Region H was the only region to designate stream segments with "unique ecological value." While seemingly a bold step for the protection of the region's natural resources, the designations seem to only include those segments that would not be adversely affected by proposed strategies. Lastly, this region was one of only a few to include serious discussions of the need for freshwater inflows into the bays and the only one that included actual proposed inflow amounts. The discussion included an overview of the necessary inflows for the Galveston Bay System. Unfortunately, there was no analysis of the actions needed to ensure those inflows occur and that the system is protected from future water supply developments in the region.
Here are some of the items the Region H Planning Group must address.
Conservation and Drought Management
For conservation and drought management, the plan needs to...
- Extend advanced conservation measures at least to all municipal water users, not just those with projected shortages.
- Develop a drought management plan.
- Provide for conservation practices for all rice irrigation operations.
To secure the protection of flows for fish and wildlife, the plan needs to...
Wildlife Habitat and Farmland Protection
- Discuss how the inflow needs to the Galveston Bay System will be met. The 2001 regional plan acknowledges that freshwater inflows into Galveston Bay are needed but fails to propose actions to protect these flows. Additional freshwater inflows will be required from the Trinity and San Jacinto rivers to manage and protect environmental water needs in the Trinity-San Jacinto Estuary.
- Evaluate alternative water supply strategies for affects on environmental flows. In addition, the plan must discuss how river and stream flows are affected by current projects and existing water permits.
- Reassess potential "unique stream segments" recommended by the TPWD for designation. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department recommends 27 segments for designation in this region, while the 2001 regional plan only proposed six.
To avoid destroying valuable wildlife habitat and productive farmland, the plan needs to...
- Avoid recommending construction of unnecessary reservoirs. Even without the construction of the three proposed reservoirs, Houston is projected to experience a surplus of 274,000 acre-feet.
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.
- TWDB Regional Water Planning Website
- The 2001 Region H Water Plan
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.