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Tribune begins series on Marvin Nichols Reservoir


Or maybe a better description would be water rights, but either way you look at it, they are a valuable commodity. When you look at long range plans for any community, any size or any place, you have to look at water.

People need water to drink, manufacturers need water to operate, and whether we want to look at it that way or not, water is a key ingredient to the current and future prosperity of Bowie County and Northeast Texas.

For about 20 years now, the name Marvin Nichols Reservoir has been kicked around in our area and across the State of Texas. This proposed behemoth, 72,000 acres, would fill up the Sulphur River Basin from right about Hwy. 259 around Dalby Springs all the way back to Hwy. 37 in Red River County south of Clarksville.

If you are from here, and you look at the proposed drawing of the lake on a map, it is hard to miss the fact that there will be towns, communities, farms and generations of history, put under water. Not very deep water in some parts, but nevertheless, under water.

One might ask, do we need this lake to fulfill our water needs for say oh the next 100 years? The answer to that question would be no.

So why has the name Marvin Nichols Reservoir hung around so long? The answer to that is pretty easy to explain.

If you ever drive up around Dallas, you have seen the answer with your own eyes. Places like McKinney, Frisco and The Colony, once suburbs of Dallas and little more than cow pastures and corn fields, are now connected to the beast called DFW and growing more every day. Corn fields have been replaced with shopping malls, strip centers, high rise towers, and residential neighborhoods that stretch as far as the eye can see.

With all of that expansion comes people and businesses. Both of which need water for drinking, manufacturing, fire protection, etc.

You take all of that and lump it together and Dallas/Ft.Worth needs our water. Their thirst for the water and the associated water rights is insatiable. They want to protect their needs, their forecasts and their growth, regardless of whether we have a need in our area or not.

Case in point would be the newly approved $1.2 billion Lower Bois d'Arc Creek Reservoir over around Honey Grove. Not nearly as big as Marvin Nichols, but it was finally approved by the federal government after a 15-year battle. Now those folks over there are dealing with the loss of their lands, and their history.

No doubt there was a lot of celebrating going on at the North Texas Municipal Water District and Region C when that lake was finally approved. Those same folks hope to one day have an even bigger party if the construction for Marvin Nichols is ever approved.

That has been their dream since the first little meeting of the Sulphur Oversight Society at the little Methodist church in Boxelder, and it is still their dream today.

So, the question is for us, do we just sit back and watch as the Texas Water Development Board and Region C march ever closer to their party, or do we continue to raise a fuss at every turn and keep Marvin Nichols out of our Region D water plan?

Where do the folks at Riverbend Water Resources and the Sulphur River Basin Authority sit on this subject?

Is the Sulphur Oversight Society going to have to resurrect itself and boldly oppose the lake again, rallying their troops on every front? Will FUSE and the Texas Conservation Alliance again join the conversation?

What about our Region D leadership? Are they on board?

Over the next several months, the Tribune is going to do a weekly series on Marvin Nichols, water rights, and everything associated with our water.

We will talk to our conservationists, historians, and local people who would be impacted deeply by the proposed lake, such as generational landowners and timber companies.

We will get input from Riverbend, the SRBA, and Region D officials and we will try to answer the questions that will impact our water and our water rights for the next 20,50 and 100 years.

If you have questions that you would like answered, email them to me at

Bowie County Citizens Tribune

139 E.N. Front Street
New Boston, Texas 75570