NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - The newest member of the Texas Water Development Board was in Nacogdoches Wednesday.
Kathleen Jackson's host, State rep. Travis Clardy, R-Nacogdoches, chose a spot certain to catch her attention. East Texas News joined them at the last reservoir built in the state of Texas.
Lake Naconiche, in northern Nacogdoches County, is the newest reservoir in the state. A good spot for water experts who know Naconiche may the last of its kind.
"Could be. Making reservoirs in the future is going to be even harder than this one," said Dr. Kenneth Farrish, the coordinator for the Waters of East Texas Center. The effort here started in the 1960's.:
Today's proposed projects face many of the same obstacles.
"It is difficult to get projects such as this constructed with the environmental expense and other considerations now," said Al Schmidt, the district conservationist for the United States Natural Resources Conservation Service.
As a result, protecting the water Texans already have is essential. Members of Stephen F. Austin State University's Waters of East Texas Center, known as "WET," accept the responsibility. The research requires cost saving ingenuity.
"These are handmade. Cost us about three bucks a piece to make," said Dr. Hans Williams. "We augured a hole. We put them in there and surrounded it with sand and then we would come back on a regular basis to monitor the well."
Agencies and the studies they commission rely on state and federal funding. That's definitely where politics get involved. This year, the Texas water development board will begin implementing new procedures.
Jackson said the process will be user friendly. State Water Implementation Fund for Texas
"We are in the process of moving forward with the SWIFT funding which will help communities around the state be able to move forward with water projects that we know are important for texas' future," Jackson said. The swift will provide low interest financing. It will provide opportunities for communities to come together."
Low interest financing through the State Water Implementation for Texas (SWIFT) program could fund some water need projects, but none are likely to match Lake Naconiche, known by its developers as the jewel of watershed projects.
Future water projects require collaboration and partnerships. The Texas Water Development Board is a bank, but the loans remain competitive.