Why It’s Hard to Save the Lake

Layers of bureaucracy slow the rescue.

THE LENGTHY PROCESS OF dredging White Rock Lake- which is now slated to start in July 1997 and should be finished by August 1999, according to Dallas City Council member Mary Poss-makes more sense when you \ook not just at the layers of silt and gunk that are choking the lake, but the government jurisdictions involved.

Layer 1: Because it was built in 1910-11 to supply household water to Dallas, White Rock Lake and some directly adjacent land is owned by Dallas Water Utilities, a department of the City of Dallas, which has offices in the old pump house building.

Layer 2: In 1930, take operations were transferred from the water department to the Dallas Park Board. An entity separate from the city government, the Park Board still has great influence, although in the ’80s most authority was transferred to…

Layer 3: Dallas Parks and Recreation. Think of them as the software program that operates the water utility’s hardware. But Parks and Recreation doesn’t do heavy construction. That is up to…

Layer 4: Publie Works, which is responsible for design and construction of the city’s infrastructure, and handles the building and heavy repairs of bridges, streets, and storm drainage systems. The actual dredging will be done through contracts administered by Transportation, which also coordinates placement of the piped-away sediment, some of which will end up with…

Layer 5: Streets and Sanitation, which maintains the roads that link together the Parks and Recreation lands.

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