Region I - East Texas
2001 Regional Water Plan Overview
Basic Plan Facts
- Population growth is projected to be moderate
- Total capital cost of proposed water supply measures: $517 million
- One new major reservoir proposed - Lake Eastex - which would inundate 10,000 acres
What's at Issue?
While most of the projected demands will be met with existing water resources within the region, Region I is proposing to construct the controversial Lake Eastex Reservoir in Cherokee County. Given that the region did not incorporate advanced conservation in their planning effort, there is great potential for water savings in all water user groups. Large-scale savings could occur within the agricultural sector, especially in rice farming, and with industrial uses. In addition to possibly lessening the need to construct a potentially environmentally damaging reservoir, incorporating such measures could reduce the increased pressure on groundwater reserves of the region.
In terms of environmental protection measures, the 2001 plan does recognize the need to provide for inflows to bays. However, there is no discussion of the effects of proposed strategies on inflows. There is also no discussion about the flows needed to support fish and wildlife resources in the region's rivers and streams. The quality of the surface water in this region is also a continuing concern. With ten stream segments listed under the Clean Water Act as impaired or threatened because of degraded water quality, there should be heightened concern over how future management strategies would affect the region's river and streams. The 2001 plan discussed the issue of meeting drinking water standards for municipal supplies, however there were no discussions on how water quality levels might affect agriculture and the natural resources of the region.
Here are some of the items the Region I Planning Group must address.
Conservation and Drought Management
For conservation and drought management, the plan needs to...
- Discuss the adequacy of current conservation levels and recommend additional water-saving measures.
- Develop a drought management plan.
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 effects on instream flows and inflows to the bay from the Sabine and Angelina-Neches River systems. In addition, the plan must discuss how these flows are affected by current projects and existing water permits.
- Develop strategies to fulfill freshwater inflow requirements for the bays.
- Include information on the nature of the major springs in the area and the habitats they support.
- 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 42 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.
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.
Regional water plan documents can be located on the TWDB website.
- TWDB Regional Water Planning Website
- The 2001 Region I 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.