The City of Dallas has a reputation for being slow to pick up water conservation practices. Ken Kramer of the Sierra Club says that while some other Texas cities have more developed conservation practices, but Dallas is catching up.
Senate Bill 3 established "environmental flow standards" for river basins associated with a river that flows into the Gulf of Mexico in Texas. But for some rivers in the northern part of the state, no such standards are in place.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality must decide on acceptable flow standards in those river basins on a case-by-case basis. River basins in Northeast Texas with no established flow standards are the Red, the Sulphur and the Cypress.
With all the attention on the Texas Water Development Board, it's worth noting that there's more than one state agency involved in the construction of any new reservoir. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality must grant a license for any new reservoir construction project. The licensure process is a long and complicated one.
On March 4, the State of Texas gave preliminary approval to the Marvin Nichols Reservoir proposal. The public commentary period on this issue will continue through April 15, with the final decision due May 15. The destiny of the other proposed project in the Sulphur River Basin - the George Parkhouse Reservoirs - will be determined after the Marvin Nichols proposal gets its final thumbs-up or thumbs-down.
The two proposed George Parkhouse Reservoirs would both be built in eastern Delta County - one along the North Sulphur, one along the South Sulphur. There are no immediate plans to build the lakes, but they remain as "alternate" sources of water that could be developed in the future.
After years of conflict, the fate of the controversial Marvin Nichols Reservoir proposal will be decided by the Texas Water Development Board's governing board in Austin. The decision could come while the three-person governing body is down to just two members.
The Texas Water Development Board divides the state into 16 regions for the purposes of water planning. The Northeast Texas planning group (Region D) and the North Texas planning group (Region C) disagree on one huge question - the proposed Marvin Nichols Reservoir. State Senator Bob Deuell (R-Greenville), whose district overlaps both regions, favors alternatives to Marvin Nichols Reservoir.
The planning process for the Texas Water Development Board now focuses on the 16 regions and the reginal plans. If you live in Hunt, Lamar. Delta, Hopkins, Franklin, Wood, Rains or Van Zandt counties, you're in Region D. The next board meeting for the region is Feb. 19 in Mount Pleasant. If you live in Collin, Fannin, Rockwall or Kaufman counties, you're in Region C.
The Texas Water Development Board has had its own governing board reorganized. Last year, the Texas Legislature replaced the six-member volunteer board with a three-member full-time board. Governor Rick Perry appointed three longtime associates to the new positions. But one of them - Mary Ann Williamson - has resigned, less than half a year after accepting the position. Texas Tribune environment reporter Neena Satija discusses the changes in Austin.