FANNIN COUNTY, Tex. (KXII) - The North Texas Municipal Water District has been approved to build a 16,000 acre reservoir in Fannin County, a $1.2 billion project, and the first new reservoir in Texas in 30 years.
But not everyone is excited about it, like rancher Thump Witcher.
"My dad bought this property in 1960, and it's been my life dream to live down here," he said.
Witcher had every plan to retire peacefully at his dream ranch in northeast Fannin County, but said he has no choice now but to be kicked out. His family has owned land nearby for nearly a century.
"In this situation, none of us property owners had any say so at all."
The permit to build the reservoir was officially approved on Friday. It's aimed to serve 80 north Texas communities when it's complete in 2022.
County judge Spanky Carter said the economic growth it'll bring makes up for some people losing their land.
"We think it's the biggest thing to happen in Fannin County in the last 50 years," Carter said. "It's a big, big deal."
Carter said the Lower Bois D'Arc Reservoir has been in the works for 15 years now, and that 86 percent of the land has already been sold. He said the water is a necessity for Fannin County and surrounding communities.
Witcher has been holding on to hope for years that the project wouldn't be approved.
"I kept hoping and praying the laws would override this thing," Witcher said.
Sheriff Mark Johnson said he also has his doubts. He's worried there won't be enough deputies to cover the construction and patrol the reservoir when it's ready. He did say the water district is trying to get him more deputies to help out.
"We don't have enough staff right now to take care of what we have already," Johnson explained.
Construction on the project will start later in the spring. Witcher said he's moving out of Fannin County for good.