Last year, Texas voters approved the allocation of $2 billion from the state’s rainy day fund to pay for water projects. Proposition 6 won fairly handily, but many from both the left and the right sides of the political spectrum had concerns about the new water fund. Transparency and accountability were mentioned. And even supporters of the measure cautioned against over-investing in certain types of projects.
Van Zandt county retired businessman Bob Hall rode a wave of Tea Party support to defeat longtime state Senator Bob Deuell in a Republican Party primary runoff last month. Having won the GOP nomination, Hall is considered a safe bet to win the general election in November.
Northeast Texas Municipal Water District administrator Walt Sears discusses the three hurdles that any new reservoir in Texas must clear. A project must first be included in the state water plan, which is published by the Texas Water Development Board. Then, another state agency, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, must issue permits for the project. Finally, the new reservoir must receive federal approval.
Sears also mentions that Sen. Kevin Eltife, an East Texan, serves on the new legislative oversight committee set up to assist the Texas Water Development Board.
The fate of the Marvin Nichols Reservoir proposal - at least insofar as it figures into the Texas Water Development Board's plans - now lies in the hands of that agency's three-person governing body, consisting of chairman Carlos Rubinstein, Bech Bruun and Kathleen Jackson.
It’s going to be a busy week for the Marvin Nichols Reservoir proposal. The Texas Water Development Board is in the process of resolving a conflict between two regional planning groups over the idea. The Northeast Texas group doesn’t want there to be a new, 70,000 acre lake along the Sulphur River north of Mount Pleasant. The North Texas group is in favor of the proposal.
The mayor of Mount Pleasant, Paul Meriwether, and the mayor of Mount Vernon, Margaret Sears, both support the proposal to build the Marvin Nichols Reservoir in Northeast Texas. Meriwether and Sears addressed the public at a forum on the issue hosted by the Texas Water Development Board and held in Mount Pleasant on Apr. 29.
After over a decade of public discussion and commentary, the Texas Water Development Board should be coming to a decision on the proposed Marvin Nichols Reservoir soon. The public commentary period ends 5 p.m. Friday, May 2. The board is accepting emailed and written comments.
The Northeast Texas Water Coalition, based in Mount Pleasant, is a group that includes supporters of the proposed Marvin Nichols Reservoir. The organization's president, Ty Abston, discusses how he wants to make sure that if the project goes through, that whichever areas use the water are also those areas that have to give up land to the federal "mitigation" requirement.