Catherine Ross, NBC 5 Collin County Reporter
The North Texas Municipal Water District's $300 million pipeline will bring much-needed water from Lake Texoma without the danger of zebra mussel infestation.
The North Texas Municipal Water District has started work on a $300 million pipeline project to once again tap into water at Lake Texoma.
Lake Texoma, which accounts for 28 percent of the growing district's water supply, has been inaccessible since 2009 because of a zebra mussel infestation.
The new pipeline will travel 46 miles from Texoma to the district's plant in Wylie.
Work began in late November to lay massive pipes, some as large as eight feet in diameter and 50 feet long, in rural areas such as a site outside of Blue Ridge.
NTMWD spokeswoman Denise Hickey said the zebra mussels have played a major role in the need for water restrictions, but the drought is more of a culprit.
"The weather has put a large strain on our water supply system," she said.
The water district increased its wholesale water rate this fall to help pay for the new pipeline, prompting many member cities to increase their water rates. The move is unpopular among many customers.
"As much as they charge us for water, they should have the money to pay for it," Wylie resident Sandra Butler said. "I don't like this 10 percent here, 15 percent there."
But she said she sees the need to access Texoma.
"Lake Lavon is not going to be able to handle all the influx of people moving into the area," Butler said.
The pipeline project should be completed by fall 2013.
Hickey said the completion would not necessarily mean the end of water restrictions because the district's conservation plan is based on drought and weather conditions.