A federal judge ruled Monday that the city and the Texas Water Board can’t stop the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from designating parts of Anderson and Cherokee counties, southeast of Dallas, as the Neches River wildlife refuge. That’s where the city wanted to build the 25,000-acre Fastrill Reservoir, which it says is essential to providing enough water for Dallas’ growth through 2060.

This was a hot topic last spring when the Legislature was in session. The city almost lost the reservoir that was included in the 2007 water bill that was eventually passed because so many residents of East Texas are fed up with the way we waste water. As noted during the debate, we use 30 percent more water per person than any other big city in the state.

We’re not the only city in the country with this problem. California is now including water availability in zoning requirements. If there isn’t any water, you can’t build. The New York Times reported that least three developers in Kern County north of Los Angeles bowed out when they couldn’t get water for their project, while housing developments in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties have met a similar fate, officials in those counties said.

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