FANNIN COUNTYConstruction proceeding on $490M Lake Ralph Hall
More than five months after workers broke ground in rural Fannin County, progress is continuing on the construction of Lake Ralph Hall, a massive $490 million project that will deliver water to thousands of North Texas residents when it is completed.
The Upper Trinity Regional Water District has authorized $12.5 million in contracts toward designing some components of the project, and workers are making progress on the Leon Hurse Dam and the State Highway 34 bridge that will cross over the North Sulphur River, the water district announced.
That funding is financed by the water district, in part, through the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas, which was created by a 2013 constitutional amendment.
The lake is the latest project to contend with the fast-growing population of North Texas — last year alone, 75,000 people moved to the region — and it will provide water to some of the 325,000 people served by the Upper Trinity Regional Water District, which covers all of Denton County and part of Collin County.
Communities currently served by the Upper Trinity district receive their water from a variety of different sources, including Lewisville Lake. The water is purchased from Dallas Water Utilities.
Lake Ralph Hall is expected to begin delivering water by late 2025 or early 2026, said Jason L. Pierce, UTRWD’s manager of governmental affairs and communications.
But the project, when complete, won’t be enough to contend with the region’s ever-increasing demand for water, officials have said.
In 2013, the Texas Tribune reported that Lake Ralph Hall won’t provide one-tenth of what the area is projected to need by 2060. Officials have said they are in the beginning stages of searching for another water source.
The project includes the lake, which is named after the late U.S. Rep. Ralph Hall, who represented the region from 1981 to 2015, and a dam named after Leon Hurse, the former mayor of Ladonia, which sits near the site of the future lake and helped implement the partnership between Ladonia and the water district. Once completed, the lake is expected to cover 12 square miles of surface area and provide up to 54 million gallons of water every day to 23 cities and towns.
While construction of the lake has faced opposition — including from residents concerned about the potential for rising water costs and environmentalists concerned about the lake’s effect on wildlife and a large fossil park near Ladonia — water officials have said it is the best solution to what otherwise might be a water crisis.
Another Fannin County reservoir, Bois d’Arc Lake, is expected to begin providing water to 1.8 million people served by a different water district next year.