The ability to secure viable water supplies that meet the needs of Texas’ rapidly growing population is paramount to our state’s continued growth and prosperity.
Building additional reservoirs are long-term options, but they are very expensive and take many years to construct. Those factors have forced many of the state’s water suppliers to find creative ways to extend their existing sources.
One of the most innovative approaches has been the one taken by the Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) in Fort Worth. With the population within its 11-county service area expected to double in the next 50 years, the district has built an impressive wetlands system in Navarro County that naturally filters water and puts it back into Richland-Chambers Reservoir for future use. In fact, it will increase the lake’s annual yield significantly. The George W. Shannon Wetlands facility will provide TRWD an additional 33 billion gallons of water that can be used to meet the demands of the 1.8 million people the district currently serves in Fort Worth, Arlington, Mansfield and the Mid-Cities near DFW Airport.
Completed in 2013, the 2,000 acre system is located on Texas Parks and Wildlife’s (TPW) Richland Creek Wildlife Management Area. It consists of a series of sedimentation ponds and wetland cells that naturally filter water diverted from the Trinity River. It takes the murky water from the river seven to 10 days to filter through the wetland system, but once it leaves the wetlands the water is clear and ready to be pumped back into Richland-Chambers for future use.
TRWD is already working on another wetlands facility at nearby Cedar Creek Reservoir, which will provide an additional 28 billion gallons to the district’s supply. Once both are fully operational, combined they will provide TRWD with enough water supply to serve an additional one million people.
Chad Lorance is the Communications Director at the Tarrant Regional Water District.
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