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2,700-foot Texas tunnel to provide 350 million more gallons of water a day

The pipeline is located along a separate path than Tarrant Regional Water District's existing pipelines and operates in a different electric grid.

ENNIS, Texas — Many North Texans will soon have access to more water — hundreds of millions more gallons — thanks to a recently finished pipeline.

The Tarrant Regional Water District and the city of Dallas Water Utilities gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday after the completion of one of the nation’s largest water supply infrastructure projects finished in Ennis.

Thanks to a 2,700-foot tunnel, the $2.3 billion, 150-mile Integrated Pipeline Project will provide two of the state’s largest water suppliers up to an additional 350 million gallons of water a day for their customers.

The pipeline is located along a separate path than Tarrant Regional Water District's existing pipelines and operates in a different electric grid.

Credit: Tarrant Regional Water District
This is an early look at this Texas tunnel that will be filled with 50-foot sections of 108-inch diameter steel pipe.

There were a lot of organizations, governments and people that needed to come together to make this project a reality, according to Brooke Paup. She is a board member for the Texas Water Development Board and was heavily involved in the project.

"This project has been a long time coming," Paup said during the ribbon cutting.

From its inception to its completion, this pipeline took 15 years to complete.

By sharing operation and maintenance costs of the completed joint section of the pipeline, the two agencies say they will see more than $1 billion in savings over the life of the pipeline.

"We looked at efficiency and materials," Tarrant Regional Water District Integrated Pipeline Program Manager Ed Weaver said.

Tarrant Regional Water District owns and operates Cedar Creek and Richland-Chambers Reservoirs southeast of Dallas. The organization also has existing pipelines to those two lakes.

"In addition to adding more drinking water over the life of the project, we will save our customers a billion dollars by having a joint project," Dallas Water Utilities director Terry Lowery.

Credit: Jay Wallis
Hundreds of people in the audience clapped moments after a group of people connected to the Integrated Pipeline Project cut a ribbon in honor of Friday's announcement.

The Integrated Pipeline Project increases the district’s capacity to pump additional raw water back to its wholesale customers, including Fort Worth, Arlington, Mansfield and the Trinity River Authority. Tarrant Regional Water District supplies water to more than 2.3 million people in an 11-county service area. 

Dallas Water Utilities will pay for its costs to connect to its water supply at Lake Palestine in East Texas. That project is already underway and expected to be completed in the next five years. 

Dallas Water Utilities provides water to 2.6 million people in Dallas and 27 nearby communities. In addition, Dallas Water Utilities provides wastewater and stormwater services.

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