On a typical morning as you’re brushing your teeth, you may notice how much water is used to perform this one mundane, yet necessary, task. Now think about the more than 2 million people in TRWD’s service area using this same water for brushing their teeth, washing their clothes and dishes, and countless other water-dependent activities.
When we consider the fact that our consumable water supplies are finite, it begs the question, “What is being done to help recycle our water?”
For TRWD, one major solution to the problem lies in East Texas and is a sight to behold: The George W. Shannon Wetlands Project.
The wetlands is a 2,000-acre water reuse project that sits right next to the Richland-Chambers Reservoir. It is called a reuse project because it naturally filters water from the Trinity River and drops it back into the lake. Then the water can be pumped back to customer cities in North Texas for use again, eventually making its way back to the Trinity River via wastewater treatment plants and completing the cycle.
The first step of the wetland’s filtration process is pumping the river’s water into sediment basins that filter pollutants. From there, it flows into zones filled with a myriad of aquatic plant species native to Texas. These plants are fascinating in their ability to take fertilizers and other pollutants out of the water to help grow large, self-sustaining ecosystems. As a result, the wetlands are part of a registered Wildlife Management Area home to more than 225 different species of waterfowl and migratory birds, beavers, deer, hogs and even alligators. After about a week, the water reaches the lowest part of the wetlands system where it can be pumped into the Richland-Chambers Reservoir and back up to TRWD’s customer cities.
The next time you use water to brush your teeth, you don’t just have to wonder about where it all goes. Experience for yourself how some of our water gets naturally treated by visiting the wetlands and enjoying everything it has to offer to the public. Popular activities include birdwatching, duck hunting in the winter and educational demonstrations by Texas Parks & Wildlife.
This #WaterWednesday, we hope you’ll join TRWD in championing reuse by becoming good stewards of our limited water resources at home and out in the wild!