Existing Surface Water Supplies
Existing Ground Water Supplies
Comparison of Existing Supply and Projected Demand
Additional Supply from Water Conservation
Potential Surface Water Projects
Potential Ground Water Resources
Water and Wastewater Treatment Needs
Water Quality & Environmental Issues
Other Water Related Issues
Information Management and Public Participation
In October 1996, the Sabine River Authority authorized Freese and Nichols,
Brown and Root, and LBG-Guyton to conduct the Comprehensive Sabine Watershed
Management Plan. This plan was performed in conjunction with the Texas
Water Development Board. The purpose of this plan is to update the 1985
Update of the Master Plan for the Sabine River. Significant changes
have taken place since 1985 that necessitated an update of SRA's overall
plan for the Basin. This plan takes an overall look at Basin development
including such issues as water need, water supply, the environment, conservation,
economic development, and natural resources among others.
The first Master Plan for SRA was in 1955. It was
basically a plan for reservoir development. Lake Cherokee was the only
reservoir in the Basin at that time. The plan listed thirteen potential
reservoirs. In 1962, SRA prepared a Supplement to the Master Plan,
which revised the hydrologic analyses, yield determinations, and development
plan for the Basin. In 1985 the Update of the Master Plan for the Sabine
River was performed. By the time of the 1985 Master Plan Update, six
of the original 13 reservoirs had been built. The 1985 Plan further recommended
that four new reservoirs be developed prior to the year 2030. Those four
reservoirs were Waters Bluff, Big Sandy, Bon Wier, and Big Cow Reservoirs.
As stated above, significant changes have developed since 1985 that necessitate
an update of that plan. Information from these previous plans as well
as other published studies were used in this Comprehensive Plan. A complete
list of references used in this study is included in Appendix A of the
It is important to note that the Senate Bill One Regional
Planning process, which was initiated during the course of this plan,
has become the mechanism for water planning throughout the State. Any
future projects that come from this comprehensive plan should be incorporated
into the Senate Bill One Planning process to ensure that the projects
become part of the Texas Water Plan.
In this Comprehensive Sabine Watershed Management Plan,
the Sabine Basin is divided into two distinct geographic regions: the
Upper Basin and the Lower Basin. The Upper Basin begins at the upstream
end of the Basin and extents down to the headwaters of Toledo Bend Reservoir
in Panola County. The Lower Basin extends from the headwaters of Toledo
Bend Reservoir to Sabine Lake at the Gulf of Mexico.
Plan and Recommendations
The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) Consensus
Planning population and water use projections were used as a basis for
the determining the water needs in the Basin. Based on these projections,
the Upper Basin water use will increase from 197,000 acre-feet per year
in 1990 to 457,000 acre-feet per year in 2050. The Lower Basin water use
will increase from 79,000 acre-feet per year in 1990 to 164,000 acre-feet
per year in 2050. These water use projections do not include any use for
instream flows and bay and estuary inflow needs, as those have not yet
been determined by the state agencies.
Based on the detailed comparison of water needs and available
supply, it was determined at this time no new supplies need to be developed
in the Lower Basin. It was also determined that in the Upper Basin approximately
93,000 acre-feet per year of additional supply is needed by the year 2050.
Potential sources for future water supply include new surface water reservoirs,
diversions from the Sabine River, a transmission pipeline from Toledo
Bend Reservoir, importation from outside the Basin, and some limited new
ground water resources.
The most viable surface water project is a staged development
of Prairie Creek Reservoir. This reservoir site was selected based on
its location, cost analysis and assessment of developmental concerns.
Its firm yield should provide approximately enough supply to meet projected
2023 demands. When the yield of Prairie Creek Reservoir is fully used,
there are two options for further supply. One option is diverting water
from the Sabine River to supplement the yield of Prairie Creek Reservoir.
Diversions would provide some additional supply but would not meet all
the projected needs. The other option, as shown in the Figure ES.1, would
be to build a pipeline from Toledo Bend Reservoir to Prairie Creek Reservoir.
As needs increase and larger demands develop, approaching the limit of
the Prairie Creek supply, this pipeline should be constructed. This pipeline/reservoir
system would be able to provide for all the projected additional demands
in the Upper Basin through 2050. This option has become particularly attractive
since SRA is now building a pipeline along the approximate route of this
pipeline about half way to Prairie Creek Reservoir to serve an industrial
customer. This represents a substantial cost savings to SRA for a future
extension of this pipeline route to Prairie Creek Reservoir. It would
decrease the cost of this option even below the amount presented in this
ES.1: Recommended Water Resource Development
Issues and recommendations identified in this plan are
- SRA should continue to pursue negotiations with the City of Dallas
to allow for selling the water in Dallass contract that must remain
in the Sabine Basin.
- SRA should begin the process of permitting Prairie Creek Reservoir.
A new reservoir typically takes 10 to 15 years to permit and construct.
Therefore, if Prairie Creek Reservoir is planned to meet the needs in
the Upper Basin by 2010, the permitting process should be started by
year 2000. Should significant obstacles arise to the development of
Prairie Creek Reservoir, SRA should pursue the development of the State
Highway 322 Stage II reservoir. SRA should talk to TXU Electric regarding
their plans for the mining operations at the reservoir site.
- Prior to year 2010, SRA should re-evaluate the water use demand projections
(the Senate Bill One projections that are accepted by TWDB) to assess
changes in growth and future needs.
- SRA should review the results of the Water Availability Model (WAM)
of the Sabine River when completed by TNRCC. This model will indicate
if there is additional supply available from the Sabine River for future
diversions or insufficient water for existing contracts.
- Based on the results of the re-evaluated demand projections and the
WAM, SRA should evaluate the need, timing, and sizing of a transmission
pipeline from Toledo Bend Reservoir with terminal storage at Prairie
Creek. SRA should pursue the design, permitting and construction of
the pipeline several years prior to the expected shortage.
- SRA should pursue discussions with various customers regarding reducing
their contracted amount. If a portion of the entity's water contract
is released, it could be used for water supply needs elsewhere in the
- SRA should initiate discussions with Wood County regarding the possibility
of converting the Wood County Lakes to water supply. There is a potential
20,000 acre-feet per year of firm yield from these four lakes. However,
this would impact the current recreational value of these reservoirs.
- SRA should encourage the Cities of Kilgore and Canton to work with
the TWDB regarding the possibility of implementing ASR at their existing
well fields to better utilize the surface water supplies during drought
and high demand periods.
Other recommendations from this comprehensive report
include the following:
- SRA should continue evaluating potential environmental mitigation
areas for future water development projects. This will enable SRA to
pursue surface water projects that require mitigation lands.
- Due to the uncertainty surrounding the current Bottomland Hardwoods
status in the Sabine Basin and their importance to reservoir development,
we recommend that an updated statewide study of Bottomland Hardwoods
be conducted. SRA should request that the TWDB and/or the TNRCC conduct
such a study.
- SRA should review its current contracting procedures to determine
if modifications would result in more accurate allocations of firm yield
to its customers. Currently, there are a number of large water contracts
in the Upper Basin that are not being fully utilized.
- SRA should conduct volumetric surveys of their existing reservoirs
to verify sedimentation rates. If the sedimentation rates are significantly
different from those used in this plan, SRA should re-evaluate the firm
yields of the affected reservoirs. The projected firm yield of Lake
Tawakoni and Lake Fork in the year 2050 is approximately 18,100 acre-feet
per year less than the current contracted amounts. This amount is not
reflected in the total 93,000 acre-feet per year of projected water
needs in the Upper Basin.
- SRA should continue their public participation and information programs
to its customers and water and wastewater providers. Specific recommendations
for expanding awareness of water resource management to water and wastewater
providers are included in Section 9.3 of the main report. Recommendations
for public participation are outlined in Section 12.2 of the main report
and in a separate technical memorandum.
- SRA should implement an economic development program for traditional
economic development utilizing local, regional, and state resources
throughout the Sabine Basin. Further, this effort should be expanded
to include eco-tourism to fully take advantage of the wealth of natural
resources in the Basin.
- SRA should continue their current water quality monitoring program
to assess water quality in the Basin. We recommend that SRA expand the
special studies program to include more high flow or storm sampling
studies for non-point source documentation, and SRA should pursue working
with the TNRCC to develop regional tolerance values for bioassessment
- SRA should provide a technical assistance program to support water
and wastewater providers in the Basin with information such as EPA and
TNRCC regulations. Provide recommendations on treatment options to help
small water supply entities comply with regulations. Host and/or facilitate
any available TWDB and TNRCC seminars or workshops regarding water or
wastewater treatment. Facilitate the TNRCC plant optimization program
within the Basin. If necessary, hire local consultants on an as needed
basis to help with this technical assistance program.
- Train entities within the Sabine Basin that collect water quality
data in approved data collection and analysis methods so that this information
can be used in the Clean Rivers Program and SRAs Information System
and GIS database.
- Host and/or facilitate TWDB drought management and contingency planning
seminars to assist all of the water suppliers in the region with their
- Study further the opportunity of implementing regional water and wastewater
- Use GIS and other data analysis methods to continue monitoring for
water quality problems that may be related to wastewater treatment effluent
and septic systems, non-point sources, oil and brine spills, construction
activities, and specific anthropogenic pollutants.