Dallas-Fort Worth Water Quality: Yesterday
Beginning in 1850, the first public water supply for Dallas was a freshwater spring, Browder’s Springs. The Trinity River carried away domestic waste. As Dallas grew, Browder Springs could not keep up with demand. Dallas city leaders needed clean water sources that could provide water for drinking, bathing, and firefighting for the growing city. The West Fork of the Trinity River, flowing from Fort Worth, was filthy with packinghouse waste and domestic waste. However, water from Trinity River’s Elm Fork was a promising source. City planners built a dam and pumping station in the mid-1890s, first used wooden flumes to distribute. City planners replaced the wooden flumes in 1913 with cast iron pipes.
While cleaner than the water from the West Fork of the Trinity River, the water supply from the Elm Fork was inconsistent, a result of drought and flooding. City planners constructed a series of manmade lakes to store the overflow from stormwater to help stem possible droughts.