Many North Texans may not be aware that the region will have a new, man-made lake operating in the next few years.

Lake Ralph Hall is being constructed in Fannin County to help meet future water needs. Larry N. Patterson, executive director of the Upper Trinity Regional Water District, told Highland Village City Council the lake should be operational to deliver water to Highland Village and the service area by 2026.

Patterson gave a presentation to council during a workshop April 25, explaining it was the first lake permitted in the state since 1985 and that he has been working on the project for 21 years.

“I’m hoping to get it finished before I retire, and I think we will,” he said, noting the project is on schedule. By this time next year, all elements of the project will be under construction, he added.

The district's funding for Lake Ralph Hall came from the Texas Water Development Board through the State Water Implementation Fund of Texas, which provides "affordable financial assistance for projects of this magnitude," said Jason L. Pierce, manager of governmental affairs and communication for the district, in an email. The district will own and operate Lake Ralph Hall and is coordinating with Fannin County on police protection services, and the district will work with a consultant to identify potential locations for a marina.

Serving more than 400,000 people and 29 communities, the district is growing at a “significant rate,” Patterson said.

“This service area, in the next 50 years, will be over 2 million people, according to the latest state demographer’s projections,” Patterson said.

Patterson’s presentation included other aspects of water and wastewater operations affecting Highland Village, such as the Lakeview Water Reclamation Plant in Lake Dallas, where Highland Village’s wastewater is treated. The plant has been operating for 24 years, and the site is targeted for an expansion in the coming years to be in state compliance for capacity levels. Everything is good to go for now with the plant, Patterson said.

“Your wastewater is taken care of,” Patterson said.

Through the district, the local area receives its water from three sources: Ray Roberts Lake, Lake Lewisville and Jim Chapman Lake.

Lake Ralph Hall will be located on the North Sulphur River near Ladonia in Fannin County, the lake’s website stated, noting it will “provide a safe, reliable water supply for the communities that Upper Trinity Regional Water District serves in North Texas.”

The lake is named after Hall, the former U.S. representative who served the area for several decades in the 4th District. He died in 2019.

Lake construction began in June 2021, with water delivery scheduled by 2026. Once complete, the lake will provide up to 54 million gallons per day—35 million gallons daily of raw and 19 MGD of reuse water, the lake’s website stated.

Patterson discussed the features Lake Ralph Hall will have, such as recreational uses, including hiking and boating, and its infrastructure. About 350 people are working at the project site now, Patterson said.

The district serves one of the fastest growing regions in North Texas, the lake’s website stated, and the area’s population “is expected to increase nearly five fold within 50 years, requiring around 140 million gallons of fresh water daily for cities it serves in Denton and Collin counties.”

Working to avoid a water shortage, the district plans now for the water it will need to support the area’s growing communities, the lake’s website stated, explaining a comprehensive plan to meet these water demands includes ongoing water conservation and reuse programs as well as maximizing the use of existing water sources.

Over the next 50 years, the district will need additional raw water supplies beyond Lake Ralph Hall and its existing supplies to meet its growing water needs, the lake’s website stated.