Richland-Chambers Watershed

Richland‐Chambers Lake is located southeast of Dallas and is the third largest inland reservoir by surface to lie entirely within the state. Constructed in the late 1980’s, it’s vast watershed drains almost 2,000 square miles of mostly rural area and provides a significant percent of the total TRWD water supply.

Richland-Chambers WPP

Today, TRWD and others continue to assist local agencies, such as the Ellis‐Prairies and Navarro County Soil & Water Conservation Districts in helping agricultural producers implement conservation practices that will hold soil on fields and reduce stormwater runoff.

Similar to many reservoirs in the state, water quality in Richland‐Chambers is affected by nutrient and  sediment runoff from the watershed which boost algae growth and decrease holding capacity. Currently, TRWD is working with Texas A&M AgriLife Research to conduct studies that will provide the  scientific foundation for a stakeholder‐driven WPP. Stakeholder meetings are anticipated to begin in 2016.

Shannon Wetlands Project

TRWD’s George W. Shannon Wetlands Water Reuse Project was the first of its kind in the United States and serves as a functional water supply alternative for the district’s rapidly growing service area.

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Richland-Chambers Watershed Map



Agriculture was the predominant land use in the region beginning in the late 1800’s, and by the early 1940’s the area suffered from soil depletion and erosion due to non‐conservation farming practices and climatic events of the 1930’s. The efforts of local farmers to control soil loss and flooding of land along the creeks was address by the USDA in the 1960’s with major channelization and re‐routing of Chambers and Mill Creeks, major tributaries to Richland‐Chambers lake. Shortly after the lake was constructed, TRWD joined with local, state, and federal entities to identify cost‐ effective and efficient agricultural practices and best management practices to address sediment and nutrient contributions from the watershed.


In 2012, the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) announced a new Water Quality Initiative committed to improving water quality by providing targeted assistance to farmers, ranchers and forest landowners in the Chambers Creek watershed above Richland‐Chambers Reservoir. This national initiative received attention from business and nonprofit organizations such as Miller‐Coors and the Sand County Foundation, spurring them to invest in the program. 


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