In the Northeast corner of Texas, residents are facing a devastating event. It's not a natural disaster, but a man-made one. And it's preventable.
Marvin Nichols Reservoir, proposed on the main stem of the Sulphur River in Red River, Titus, and Franklin Counties, would flood 66,000 acres of hardwood forest, farms and ranches, and irreplaceable wetlands. An estimated 130,000 additional acres would also be removed from private land ownership for environmental mitigation. The project would use eminent domain to take away the homes and heritage lands of fellow Texans.
The reservoir would be devastating for the economy, the environment, and the people of the region. While the Reservoir has been under discussion for decades, residents have been able to successfully push back against the largest planned land-grab in modern history. Until now.
In July 2021, when the Texas Water Development Board passed the current version of the State Water Plan, the timeline for the Marvin Nichols Reservoir was moved forward, signaling a step toward its construction. The plan is to pump the water 150 miles back across the top of Texas to the Dallas Fort-Worth Metroplex. DFW water providers are predicting a strain on the region’s future water supply. Water is, of course, a vital and necessary resource, but the DFW region has a huge potential for increased municipal water reuse and recycling, and there are existing reservoir sources that could be tapped to meet demand. Unfortunately, water developers are not focusing on conservation, water recycling, or existing reservoirs. They are moving forward with the old-fashioned approach of yet another reservoir to meet their water demands.
The estimated cost of the project is an astonishing $4.4 billion and expected to climb higher. This project would use eminent domain to force property owners off thousands of acres of family lands, negatively impact wildlife habitat, drown resources that would devastate the timber and agriculture-based economy in the region, and inundate archaeological and historic sites and cemeteries.
Generations of families who call the region home — some of whom have had the land in their families since the 1800s — will be forced from their land if this project moves forward. They will be forced to sell their homes and move elsewhere. If they choose not to sell, their lands will be condemned under eminent domain. Lost population will mean a loss to local grocery stores, churches and schools, changing the very character of a special region.
Preserve Northeast Texas was created to fight back against Marvin Nichols and ensure all Texas families keep their right to preserve their heritage and their private property.
- There are untapped water resources that are cost-effective and avoid the negative impacts of building the Marvin Nichols Reservoir.
- North Texas already has enough water for essential uses far into the future. The Marvin Nichols Reservoir would be built to meet non-essential demands like watering lawns and filling swimming pools.
- The proposed Marvin Nichols Reservoir is unnecessary because of technological advancements and innovation in conservation and water reuse.
- There are plenty of options for water supply for the DFW metroplex without impacting the land and people of Northeast Texas.
- The Marvin Nichols Reservoir will force people in northeast Texas off their lands, out of their homes, and will devastate their regional economy.
- The private land lost to the proposed Marvin Nichols Reservoir will negatively impact Northeast Texas tax bases and jeopardize funding for schools and communities.
- Those promoting the Marvin Nichols Reservoir can use eminent domain to force community members to sell their homes, farms, and land that has been in their families for generations.
- There are untapped water resources that are less environmentally damaging that could be accessed without building the Marvin Nichols Reservoir.
- The Marvin Nichols Reservoir would cause the loss of 200,000 acres of hardwood forest valuable for improving air quality.
- Reservoirs are prone to evaporation and this will only increase with a changing climate.
Water is a vital and necessary resource, but the DFW region has a huge potential for increased municipal water reuse and recycling, and there are existing reservoir sources that could be tapped to meet demand.
Unfortunately, water developers are not focused on low-impact options such as conservation, water recycling, or existing reservoirs. The proposed Marvin Nichols Reservoir will have a huge negative environmental impact, drowning miles of river and devastating rare plants and wildlife habitats.
The proposed Marvin Nichols Reservoir would be wasteful, as Dallas-Fort Worth is not in urgent need of additional water supply. If they need more water in future decades, there are cheaper, less destructive ways to obtain water supply than building a huge new reservoir. Purifying treated wastewater can be less expensive than building a new reservoir, it avoids damming a river and flooding private land, and it’s “drought-proof” – the source of water is always there.
If Dallas-Fort Worth needs additional water, they should start by tapping what they have. Through municipal water reuse/recycling, conservation and capturing stormwater, the region could make major strides in maximizing the water supply they already have.
There are untapped water sources that are cheaper and less environmentally damaging than this reservoir, which is the costliest water supply project being proposed in Texas. Water usage reports say that the DFW Metroplex has sufficient resources for household and business needs – our water would be used primarily to water their lawns and fill their swimming pools.
The Marvin Nichols Reservoir would devastate the local economy.
This project would have a huge negative impact on Northeast Texas, as well as local wildlife and their habitat. The project would capture thousands of acres of family lands, drown resources that would devastate the timber and agriculture-based economy in the region, and inundate archaeological and historic sites and cemeteries. Thousands of Texans would be forced to sell their land, move from their homes, and watch generations of memories drown under a reservoir.
Damage to the Timber Industry: The timber industry is one of the biggest economic drivers in Northeast Texas, supplying vast amounts of pulpwood and lumber to numerous manufacturers in the area, who in turn provide employment and produce paper, lumber and building materials that are utilized extensively in Texas, across the country and around the globe. The effect on the timber industry would be devastating not just to the eastern part of the region but would have a ripple effect outside the bounds of our state.
Loss of Local Jobs: Local jobs would significantly decline, and many would be lost as the result of natural resources being destroyed. The reservoir would be built at a huge negative social cost to the region, as many people would uproot and move to find new work. Proponents of the proposed reservoir argue the project will bring jobs and labor to Northeast Texas; but much of the design and construction would be done by contractors from outside the area, and the remainder of the jobs will be temporary. Any new jobs potentially generated from recreational use of the reservoir would be trivial compared to the current jobs and revenues lost by taking the 200,000 acres that would be taken out of production.
Loss of Manufacturing Capacity: Reducing the watershed of the Sulphur River Basin would negatively impact existing manufacturing operations and make it difficult to attract new industry to the region. A lack of sufficient water would adversely impact the regional tax base, funding for schools and overall quality of life.
Lots has changed since 1968!
The idea of a reservoir along the Sulphur River was also proposed in 1968; it later became known as Marvin Nichols.