Lake Texoma success story 2013

Lake Texoma: just 50 miles north of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, it's one of the three largest lakes in Texas. Federal legislation, combined with more than $21 million in financial assistance from the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), recently enabled the Greater Texoma Utility Authority (GTUA) to acquire more water storage space in Lake Texoma. This strategy was recommended in the 2007 State Water Plan.

How did this come about? Like so many things in Texas, it helps to understand the history.

The federal government, through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), began building a dam in 1939, creating Lake Texoma. Although the lake was originally built for flood control, USACE added hydropower in the 1940s and water storage capabilities in the 1950s. In 1986, GTUA began developing a pump station and pipeline to serve Sherman and south Grayson County.

According to GTUA General Manager Jerry Chapman, TWDB financing enabled the authority to purchase 50,000 acre-feet of additional storage capacity from the USACE in 2010. For the authority's member cities and other water providers in the fast-expanding counties of Cooke, Fannin, Grayson and northern Collin, this capacity will help provide for future water supply by utilizing surface water and lessening dependency on groundwater.

In addition to residential use, this water will help cool a new 500-megawatt power plant constructed in Sherman and will be used for other industries that need either treated or raw water.

"Without the favorable interest rates TWDB offered, it would have been much more difficult for us to achieve our objectives," Chapman says. "With this new capacity, our long-term surface water supplies are more secure."

GTUA has taken advantage of TWDB funding for several other projects over the years, securing funding on behalf of many communities for water treatment, pump station, water pipeline, wastewater treatment, and wastewater collection projects. As a result, it's become TWDB's largest "customer" in terms of number of loans.

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