Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

The Louisiana-to-Texas Water Deal is Off

Photo by Flickr user DrGBB (Creative Commons)

The Toledo Bend Reservoir

That was fast.

A plan to suck massive amounts of water from a Louisiana lake and sell it to Texas is off, the Shreveport Times reports. The Sabine River Authority of Louisiana, which regulates the Louisiana side of the lake, held a meeting late last week and “voted to suspend out of state water sales until a comprehensive water plan for Louisiana has been developed.” Some 300 people had gathered at the meeting, and when the vote against the sale went through, it was met “with applause, whoops of joy, and a few offered a hearty “Amen,” the paper reports.

What exactly was the plan? For starters, one of its financial backers was University of Texas alum and businessman Red McCombs. Forrest Wilder of the Texas Observer has the details:

“Over the past year, Toledo Bend Partners, the private company backed by McCombs and two wealthy Republican Louisiana businessmen, has been negotiating with the Sabine River Authority of Louisiana to lock up a large portion of the water in Toledo Bend Reservoir. The lake, the largest in the South, straddles the Texas-Louisiana border and is one of the last major sources of largely untapped surface water in Texas. The two states split the water evenly.

Toledo Bend Partners and the river authority have hammered out a draft contract that would allow TB Partners to secure the rights to 600,000 acre-feet — that’s 196 billiongallons — of water per year from Louisana’s portion of Toledo Bend Reservoir and pump it to Texas. That’s a huge amount of water. The city of Austin, for example, uses about 170,000 acre-feet a year. Six-hundred-thousand acre-feet also represents about 60 percent of Louisiana’s “firm yield,” the amount of water available during the worst drought on record.”

You can read more on the origins of the plan (and where that water might have gone) in the Texas Observer.


About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »