Watersheds are areas of land that water flows across, through or under before ultimately draining into creeks, streams, rivers, lakes or oceans. NTMWD relies on watersheds to capture and direct precipitation to its sources of water supply.
Lavon Lake is the uppermost reservoir on the East Fork of the Trinity River and provides drinking water to more than 1.6 million residents in North Texas. The 492,095 acres that drain into the lake, known as the Lavon Lake watershed, includes parts of Collin, Fannin, Grayson, and Hunt Counties. Major tributaries to the lake include the East Fork of the Trinity River, Indian Creek, Pilot Grove Creek, Sister Grove Creek, and Wilson Creek.
Healthy watersheds are vital because they can help reduce flooding and erosion impacts, and filter sediments and contaminants from water before it enters storage or recreation areas.
The first step in protecting water quality is to prevent contaminants from entering the source. Our watershed protection team works closely with the public, cities and partner agencies to identify and implement measures aimed at protecting and improving source water quality. We manage watersheds carefully to not only protect and improve water quality, but also to protect habitats that support plants, animals and recreation.
NTMWD obtains raw water from Lavon Lake, Lake Texoma, Jim Chapman Lake, Lake Tawakoni, Lake Bonham, and East Fork Reuse Project. Each of these sources is supplied by runoff from its respective watersheds. Learn more about Our Water System.
Watershed boundaries are delineated based on the landscape, not political boundaries. Thus, it is important to coordinate management efforts across all jurisdictions in a watershed. This concept is known as the watershed approach and is the basis for most watershed planning efforts.
Watershed protection plans (WPPs) are tools for protecting healthy bodies of water and restoring impaired waters. Developing effective WPPs involves identifying and implementing water quality best management practices.
Learn more about the Lavon Lake Watershed Protection Plan.
Source Water Protection
The federal Clean Water Act requires states to develop a watershed management program to protect their water resources from nonpoint source (NPS) water pollution, which comes from unregulated sources such as rainfall runoff from land, buildings, roads and other landscape features. Examples of point sources include wastewater treatment facilities, stormwater discharge from urban areas, industrial discharges and concentrated animal feeding operations. Learn more about the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board’s NPS Management Program or the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) NPS Program.
Point sources are regulated by the TCEQ and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and must obtain a permit before discharging into federal and state waters. Permits dictate the amount of water a point source is allowed to discharge and the level of treatment that water must undergo beforehand. Learn more about the EPA National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES).
The Safe Drinking Water Act mandates that states evaluate drinking water sources for potential avenues of contamination. The Source Water Protection Program (SWPP) is designed to protect drinking water sources from becoming contaminated in the future. NTMWD participates in the TCEQ’s SWPP. Established by the EPA and TCEQ, the program helps public water utilities identify, assess and manage potential sources of contamination. By participating, NTMWD commits to protecting the quality of our source waters against all potential pollutants. Click here for more information on TCEQ’s and the EPA’s SWPP.
Public Education and Outreach
A key component of effective watershed protection involves educating and informing stakeholders about water issues and steps that can be taken to address them. Learn more about NTMWD education and outreach programs.