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North Texas Municipal Water District Dedication Celebrates Completion of Bois d’Arc Lake

Jenna Covington, NTMWD Executive Director, speaks at the event.
Jenna Covington, NTMWD Executive Director, speaks at the event.
FANNIN COUNTY, TX — The North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) officially dedicated Bois d’Arc Lake in Fannin County, Texas, to celebrate the completion of the state’s newest major reservoir and its associated operations facilities.

The ceremony saw close to 300 officials gathered near the Bois d’Arc Lake dam and spillway to commemorate the end of construction. NTMWD present and past board members and staff were joined by representatives of the district’s Member Cities and Customers, the Texas Water Development Board, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Fannin County, City of Bonham, state and federal elected officials, and the engineers and contractors who designed and built the project.

The event, Celebrating the Gift of Water and Legacy of Service, included a ceremonial ribbon cutting by the NTMWD Board of Directors. Several state and elected officials spoke at the event, including Brooke Paup, Chairwoman of the Texas Water Development Board, Craig Bonds, Inland Fisheries Director for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, State Senator Bob Hall, and State Representative Reggie Smith.

This year’s drought affecting most of Texas and the surging growth of North Texas underscores the need for additional water supplies to prepare for the future. Bois d’Arc Lake will help meet the needs of the district’s current customers and the estimated 55,000-plus people moving to its service area each year. Some of the counties NTMWD serves are among the fastest growing in the nation, and the region’s population is expected to double by 2050.

The new 16,641-acre (26-square-mile) lake is owned and operated by NTMWD and is the first major reservoir built in Texas in over 30 years. The district started permitting and planning the reservoir in 2003 and held a groundbreaking ceremony in May 2018. The Bois d’Arc Lake dam is two miles long and 90 feet tall. The project required the support of five major contractors, dozens of subcontractors to complete various components, and a workforce of about 1,000 at the peak of construction.

“After nearly 20 years of planning, permitting, and construction, Bois d’Arc Lake is now becoming a reality,” said NTMWD Executive Director Jenna Covington. “Today we celebrate and honor all who have made this new, vital resource possible. A secure regional water supply is critical for the public health and safety of the communities we serve.”

Water from Bois d’Arc Lake will be treated at a new water treatment plant in the final phases of construction in Leonard, Texas. When operational next year, the plant will be able to treat and deliver up to 70 million gallons of drinking water per day to the district’s service area.

“Bois d’Arc Lake will provide essential access to safe, reliable water for future generations of North Texans,” said NTMWD Board President Jack May. “This project highlights our legacy and vision of regional service through unity, including the crucial coordination between our federal, state, and local government organizations.”

The $1.6-billion project costs are shared by the communities that receive water from NTMWD. The Texas Water Development Board committed $1.477 billion in-low interest financing for the lake through the State Water Implementation Fund of Texas (SWIFT), saving more than $240 million in interest costs.

As part of the project, over 17,000 acres of nearby land were mitigated to pre-agricultural conditions, including planting 6.3 million trees, enhancing 8,500 acres of wetlands, restoring 70 miles of streams, and planting 3,200 acres of native grassland.

The primary purpose of Bois d’Arc Lake is to provide a reliable water source for the district’s service area. It will also be a recreation destination for the entire North Texas region. Bois d’Arc Lake remains closed for public use as we wait for enough rainfall to make it safe for boating, fishing, and other recreational activities. NTMWD built three public access boat ramps, parking lots, and picnic areas to be available when the lake opens for recreation. The Bois d’Arc Lake Operations Center offers classroom and meeting spaces for local civic and school districts.

“We are excited that construction on the lake is now done and are already seeing it drive our economy upward,” said Fannin County Judge Randy Moore. “We anticipate Bois d’Arc Lake will continue to serve as a catalyst for new growth and development benefiting Bonham, the surrounding area, and all of Fannin County.”
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