North Texas Municipal Water District
In 2004, the North Texas Municipal Water District realized that its existing plans would not meet the immediate water-supply demands of a rapidly growing population in and around the Dallas area. Already serving 1.6 million residents, with projections of the region doubling its customer base in 50 years, the Water District needed to speed ahead of its reservoir-construction plans for 2018. That’s when the Water District came up with an innovative rescue strategy to use reclaimed water, enact stronger water conservation programs, and begin fast-track construction of the East Fork Wetlands.
The East Fork Wetlands project will eventually give the region roughly 102,000 acre-feet of water a year, enough water to serve a half million people. It has the capacity to divert up to 91 million gallons of water per day from the East Fork of the Trinity River, routing the water through 1,840 acres of constructed wetlands as a natural means of removing specific elements from the water, resulting in an improved water quality. Notably the largest man-made wetland in the U.S., the East Fork Wetlands effectively removes 95 percent of the sediment, 80 percent of the nitrogen, and 65 percent of the phosphorus from the water. After flowing through the wetlands, the cleansed water is pumped 43.5 miles north of the project site to Lavon Lake for storage, blending, and water-supply use.