Sam Rayburn and Steinhagen Reservoirs are owned by the U.S. Government and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District.  Local financial sponsorship is provided by the Lower Neches Valley Authority.  Water stored in Sam Rayburn for use by LNVA is released to Steinhagen (Dam B) Reservoir, from which it flows into the lower Neches River and on to the LNVA freshwater intakes.  LNVA has State-approved rights to the use of essentially the entire dependable freshwater yield of Rayburn Reservoir, approximately 820,000 acre-feet (or 267 trillion gallons) a year.   This volume not only meets current demands, but is expected to be sufficient to meet the projected needs of the lower Neches Basin far into the 21st century.  In releasing freshwater through Rayburn's and Steinhagen's powerhouses, electrical power is generated for use in homes and industries within the area.

Delivery of fresh surface water by the distribution system is performed by withdrawal of the water from the lower Neches River and Pine Island Bayou by 21 very large pumps.   They can each deliver between 20,000 and 110,000 gallons a minute and can pump a total of over one billion gallons of water a day. The pumps are driven by huge, natural gas-fueled engines in providing the freshwater to 8 cities and water Districts, 26 industries and over 100 irrigated farms.

The water is lifted into the canal system to a height which will permit its delivery throughout most of the 400-mile canal system without further pumping.  Water deliveries are made to cities,  industries and farms on a continuous, 24-hour a day, seven day a week basis.  The canal system covers an area of approximately 700 square miles, principally within Jefferson, Liberty and Chambers Counties.