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Gonzales Inquirer Response
Click here for corrections on factual inaccuracies presented in the recent Gonzales Inquirer’s Publishers Perspective column.
Statement on Litigation
Lake Dunlap, Lake McQueeney, Lake Placid, Meadow Lake, Lake Gonzales, Lake Wood
A hub of information about the Guadalupe Valley Lakes and the hydro dams that create them.
The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) has established this site as part of its efforts to enhance communications with all parties involved in this situation.
Please check back regularly as this site will be updated periodically with additional information and updates.
The planned dewatering of the Guadalupe Valley Lakes will be postponed under a temporary court order to accommodate the hearing schedule. An updated timeline will be shared once a decision is reached by the Court in the Guadalupe Valley Lakes litigation.
Due to safety concerns that have already been explained property owners should continue to remove watercraft and other property from the lakes. In the event that a longer term injunction is not issued, the lake lowering process will need to be commenced.
These dams pose a risk to those on and around the lakes. It is of the utmost importance that the community continue to heed the warning signs and respect the restricted areas around the dams.
Safety is our top priority
Please remember to exercise caution when enjoying your holiday weekend. While GBRA does not have the authority to keep people from using the Guadalupe Valley Lakes, we recommend celebrations take place lakeside and not on the lakes due to concerns about the risks posed by the aging dams. The lakes will continue to remain open so that affected property owners have time to secure their property before the drawdown begins on Sept. 16. Please continue to adhere to the posted warning signs and respect the restricted areas around the dams that have been established for your safety.
This video, at 1:47, shows a side-by-side visual of the Lake Dunlap spillgate failure (bottom left corner), and recent video of families disregarding warning signs to play on the dam (top right).
GBRA is a taxing entity
The Facts: GBRA is not a taxing entity and does not receive any tax money.
GBRA receives public funds for the maintenance and operation of the dams
GBRA is choosing not to conduct necessary repairs on the dams
The Facts: Emergency repairs being made to the spillgates were discontinued after the spillgate failure at Lake Dunlap for safety reasons. The spillgate failures are due to the deterioration of original structural steel components. Consultation with third-party experts has confirmed repairing the dams would be more costly and less effective than making the necessary replacement.
The Guadalupe Valley Lakes are flood control measures
The Facts: The Guadalupe Valley Lakes help pass water downstream from Canyon Lake, but they do not serve a purpose in flood control because they have no room for temporary storage of flood waters.
The dams are not a safety issue
The Facts: The dams have surpassed their useful life at more than 90 years old. Based on the two spillgate failures that have occurred to date, the four remaining dams pose an imminent risk to the surrounding communities. GBRA is actively working to mitigate these safety risks with this drawdown.
This is happening because GBRA has not maintained the dams
The Facts: GBRA has spent $25 million on the maintenance of the dams, including making significant repairs following the floods of 1998 and 2002. Significant repairs were also made to the Lake Dunlap dam in 2011.
Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) was involved in the decision to dewater the lakes
The Facts: The decision and authority to dewater the lakes was GBRA’s alone. GBRA made this decision out of a concern for public safety due to the condition and failures of original steel components within the spillgates. In compliance with state law, GBRA has submitted an Aquatic Resource Relocation Plan (ARRP) to TPWD intended to control and limit the impacts of dewatering on aquatic resources within the system. GBRA will consult with TPWD on the implementation of the ARRP, and resource teams from various agencies will be assisting GBRA with mitigation activities during the actual drawdown.
GBRA makes money on the dams
GBRA is using money for other projects instead of replacing the dams
The community needs to help fund the replacement of the dams
The Facts: The hydroelectric dams are currently operating at an unsustainable deficit. GBRA is working closely with key stakeholders – including the lake associations as well as city and county representatives – to identify funding for the necessary replacement and continued maintenance and operational cost of the dams.
The GBRA Board of Directors presentation from Wednesday, August 21.
Future board meetings will be continued to be live streamed and we will communicate the details on how to connect as we get closer to next month’s meeting.
At more than 90 years old, the Guadalupe Valley Lake dams have surpassed their useful life due to the deterioration of the original steel components. Executive Manager of Engineering Charlie Hickman provides local media with a closer look at one of the hinges from the dam at Lake Dunlap.
Dunlap Spillgate Hinge Inspection Report
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who is responsible for the dams?
A: The six hydroelectric dams along the Guadalupe River that create the Guadalupe Valley hydroelectric system and associated lakes are owned and operated by the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA). GBRA took ownership of the dams in the 1960’s and has maintained them for more than 55 years. GBRA has been working in coordination with the surrounding communities – including the lake associations, as well as city and county officials – to determine the best course of action for the long-term sustainability of the dams.
Q: What is the issue with the dams?
A: The primary concern with the dams is spillgate failures. At more than 90 years old, the steel and wood spillgates have reached the end of their useful life. The causes of the spillgate failures that occurred at Lake Dunlap and Lake Wood were both due to two different failures in the original structural steel components.
Q: Are the dams failing due to lack of maintenance?
A: No. GBRA has been actively maintaining the dams for more than 55 years and has spent more than $25 million in repairs on all the hydroelectric dams, spillgates and associated system components. Additionally, major repairs were done to the dams following the floods of 1998 and 2002. The failures are due to the aging of the original structural steel components beyond viability.
Q: Can GBRA do more to keep people away from the dams instead of drawing down the lakes?
A: Understanding the threat posed by the aging dams, GBRA has been working tirelessly to ensure the community maintains a safe distance from the dams at all times. Despite these increased efforts, monitoring systems around the dams continue to capture people around and even on top of the dams.
Q: Who is responsible for replacing the dams?
A: With the dams no longer representing a viable source of revenue for GBRA, it will be a community effort to cover the cost of their necessary replacement.
Q: What is the current status of the failed spillgates at Lake Dunlap and Lake Wood?
A: The compromised spillgates at Lake Dunlap and Lake Wood are included in the current discussions surrounding the replacement of the dams. The collective partnership, which includes GBRA and the lake associations, as well as the affected cities and counties are working cooperatively to determine the best course of action for identifying and funding the necessary dam replacements.
Q: Who has GBRA consulted with on this issue and what are their roles?
A: GBRA continues to work closely with two nationally recognized engineering firms – Freese and Nichols, Inc. and Black & Veatch. Freese and Nichols, Inc. was hired before the spillgate failure at Lake Wood to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the dams. While some evaluation is still underway on Lake Dunlap, Freese and Nichols, Inc. has provided a comprehensive evaluation of the dams, including recommended options for replacement. Black & Veatch was hired to design replacement options for Lake Wood and Lake Dunlap. These designs are currently in progress.
NEW – 9/5/19
Q: What is the useful life of a dam?
A: The useful life of dams of this size and style is typically between 50 and 75 years.
Q: If GBRA knew that the dams were reaching the end of their useful life, why was there no funding set aside for the replacement?
A: Since GBRA took ownership of the dams in 1963, all operational costs – including maintenance – has been paid for by revenue generated from hydroelectricity. Deregulation of the state’s electricity market in the early 2000’s and proliferation of natural gas drove down electricity costs, eliminating GBRA’s customer base and ability to generate sufficient revenue from the hydroelectric system. With hydroelectricity no longer representing a viable business enterprise for GBRA, the authority began to engage in conversations with the lake associations, as well as city and county officials about the future of the dams.
Q: Why were the dams not inspected to catch these issues?
A: GBRA conducted regular inspections of the dam and contracted with nationally-recognized engineering firm Freese and Nichols, Inc. in 2008 to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the dams, knowing they were nearing the end of their useful life. The Guadalupe Valley Lakes dams do not have a dewatering mechanism, which limits access to portions of the structure unless the lake is dewatered. The hinge that failed at Lake Dunlap was embedded in the concrete superstructure behind the spillgates.
Q: How often were inspections conducted?
A: GBRA conducted annual inspections of the dams. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) also conducted inspections every five years.
Q: Can the dams just be replaced with new parts of the same style?
A: The bear-trap style of the Guadalupe Valley Lakes dams are antiquated. To our knowledge there are only two similar style dams in operation worldwide. Additionally, the construction of the bear-trap style dams place many vital components in areas that are inaccessible for maintenance without completely dewatering the lakes. The bear-trap style dams have also proved inconsistent at maintaining a regular water level.
Q: Does the entire dam need to be replaced?
A: No. Current engineering assessments have determined that while the concrete substructure of each dam may need to be fortified, new spillgates could be retrofit to the existing concrete. The estimated cost of replacement for each of the dams also includes levee hardening, where necessary, pursuant to TECQ regulations.
Q: Did GBRA have a replacement plan for the dams?
A: GBRA contracted with nationally recognized engineering firm Freese and Nichols, Inc. in 2008 to conduct an assessment of the dams and make recommendations for replacement. GBRA also communicated the inevitability of the need for replacement and the inability for hydroelectricity to continue to serve as a viable business enterprise to the lake associations, as well as city and county officials.
Q: Why doesn’t GBRA lower one lake at a time and assess each dam?
A: Inspections and maintenance of the dams has concluded that they are all in roughly the same condition, having been built in the same time period and subjected to the same water conditions over the past 90 years. Safety is our top priority and leaving dams in operation will continue to put those in and around the lakes at risk.
Q: Can the hinges that failed at Lake Dunlap just be replaced?
A: No. The hinges that failed at Lake Dunlap are embedded into the concrete substructure behind the spillgates.
Q: What is the status of the repairs that have been taking place at Meadow Lake and Lake McQueeney?
A: Emergency repairs were initiated at each of the dams following the failure at Lake Wood to replace the tie bars on each of the spillgate. The failure of the tie bar section – which connects the upstream and downstream pieces of each spillgate together – was determined to be the cause of the Lake Wood failure. These repairs, which are completed by working going inside of the spillgates, were halted in the interest of worker safety following the Lake Dunlap failure. The Lake Dunlap failure was attributed to an entirely different set of original structural steel components than the tie bars being addressed by the emergency repairs.
Q: Did the engineering assessment look at all the hinges or just the worst one?
A: The Black & Veatch engineering assessment available on GVLakes.com is based on the destructive analysis of a hinge assembly from one of the spillgates at Lake Dunlap. The hinge assembly examined was intact and is not the hinge assembly that caused the spillgate failure. Based on inspections of the other spillgates, it was determined that the assessed hinge assembly is representative of the condition of the hinges at the other locations.
Q: At what point did GBRA abandon proper maintenance of the dams?
A: Maintenance of the dams was never abandoned. Maintenance efforts extended the life of the dams beyond expectancy, but the issue is that they have surpassed their useful age at more than 90 years old. Based on the condition of the dams, it is unsafe for any maintenance or repair work to continue.
Q: At what point was it decided never to rebuild the dams? Is that public record?
A: GBRA began to engage in conversations with key stakeholders – including the lake associations, as well as state, county, and city officials – about the future of the dams in the early 2000’s with the dams nearing the end of their useful life and the deregulation of the state’s electricity market supplanting the hydroelectric operation. Conversations surrounding the dams have centered on the fact their necessary replacement is not a feasible undertaking for GBRA alone, but will be a community effort.
Q: Can temporary dams be added in front of the existing dams to allow for their replacement?
A: GBRA is working closely with key stakeholders – including affected residents and property owners as well as state, county and city officials – to identify funding for the necessary replacement of the dams. The priority is finding a permanent solution that will ensure the sustainability and longevity of the Guadalupe Valley Lakes for generations to come. Temporary dam structures would divert funding from the necessary replacement while presenting additional safety and water flow concerns.
Q: Does GBRA receive public funds for the maintenance of the dams?
A: No. GBRA does not collect any tax revenues and does not receive any public funds to assist with the maintenance or operation of the hydroelectric dams.
Q: How does GBRA pay for the maintenance and operation of the dams?
A: GBRA currently pays for the maintenance and operation of the dams from the sale of hydroelectric power to the Guadalupe Valley Electric Coop (GVEC). Though this generates revenue, it isn’t enough to cover the cost of the maintenance and operation, resulting in an annual deficit.
Q: Can GBRA get more hydroelectricity customers or charge more to cover the cost of repairs or replacement?
A: State regulations restrict GBRA’s ability to charge enough in electricity rates to recover the costs of operating the hydroelectric system, much less generate additional revenue to cover maintenance and replacement. Additionally, deregulation of the state’s electricity market and proliferation of natural gas have further driven down electricity cost, eliminating GBRA’s customer base and ability to generate revenue from the hydroelectric system. Lacking efficiency and reliability, hydroelectricity is no longer a viable business enterprise for GBRA.
Q: Renewable energy is becoming increasingly popular, will there be future opportunities for GBRA to grow its hydroelectricity operation?
A: Despite the increasing popularity of renewable energy, GBRA’s hydroelectric operation has a very low capacity for electric production. Each of the dams is essentially equivalent to the output of a single wind turbine. Additionally, because the hydroelectric operation is entirely dependent on the flow of the water, it has little reliability as a consistent source of energy.
Q: What is the plan for funding the replacement of the dams?
A: Parties with vested interest in the long-term sustainability of the lakes – including the lake associations as well as the affected cities and counties – are working together to identify the best course of action for funding the necessary replacement of the dams. Current options include creating taxing districts to cover the cost of the debt service on a full dam replacement and the associated maintenance and operation costs.
Q: Can GBRA increase its other lines of business – like water and wastewater – to fund the dam replacements?
A: GBRA water and wastewater customers are not located around the Guadalupe Valley Lakes, so they receive no benefit from the dams. GBRA works to ensure that all its lines of business are self-sustaining and any money made from the water and wastewater services is put back into that line of business.
Q: Are there any grants or loans available from the federal or state government to assist with funding?
A: GBRA has conducted an exhaustive search to evaluate the available options. At this time there are no grant opportunities available for resolving these types of infrastructure problems. While there are available loans, taking a loan would require GBRA to demonstrate it has sufficient revenues to cover the repayment of the loan. GBRA’s revenues from hydroelectricity sales are not sufficient to finance the loan amounts needed for the maintenance and repair of the dams.
Q: Could FEMA flood relief programs be able to help finance this project?
A: The dams and spillgates were not designed as flood storage structures, so they do not qualify for any flood relief funding programs.
Q: Will the GBRA contribute any funding to the repair and replacement of the dams?
A: Upholding its commitment to being a good neighbor, the GBRA has committed to providing some funding to assist with the necessary replacement of the spillgates and the continued annual maintenance and operations cost of the dams.
NEW – 9/5/19
Q: GBRA sells water from the lakes – those revenues should be used to replace the dams?
A: The Guadalupe Valley Lakes do not play a role in water storage.
Q: At what point did GBRA separate monies from hydroelectricity and water sales?
A: Revenue generated from hydroelectricity and water sales has always represented two separate lines of business. The Public Utilities Commission of Texas regulates water and wastewater rates. This governing body protects consumers by ensuring organizations are good stewards of ratepayer funds. Any money made from water and wastewater services is put back into that line of business. Any funds allotted to the dams from GBRA’s other lines of business would be challenged by ratepayers to the Public Utilities Commission.
Q: Does GBRA currently receive tax money?
A: No.GBRA does not receive any public funds for the maintenance or operation of the dams. Annual property taxes paid by residents on the lakes have never provided funding to maintain and operate the dams.
Q: What needs to happen for taxing districts to be created?
A: A proposed taxing district would need to be approved by voters before being put into effect.
Q: Who would be eligible to participate in a vote regarding the creation of the taxing districts?
A: The lake associations are working diligently with state and county officials to determine how a taxing district could be implemented, including who would be eligible to vote.
Q: What is GBRA’s role in creating taxing districts?
A: GBRA does not have the authority to create or implement a taxing district. We are supporting the lake associations as they work with city, county and state officials to explore the available options for creating taxing districts to fund dam replacement, as well as annual maintenance and operation costs.
Q: What are the current discussions surrounding taxing districts?
A: Key stakeholders, including the affected cities, counties and the lake associations are currently determining the best course of action on taxing districts. This includes discussion on whether the taxing district will be a large district encompassing all the lakes or whether it would be lake-specific. Regular committee meetings are being held between GBRA, the lake associations, city and county representatives and other key stakeholders to discuss options with the goal of answering these questions as a collective team.
Q: Who would own and operate the lakes and dams if taxing districts were created?
A: Specifics related to the taxing districts are still being determined.The dams can be sold to an appropriate representative, if taxing districts are created, or GBRA can remain the owner and operator of the dams, utilizing the taxing district funds to cover maintenance and operations costs.
Q: Do the dams serve a purpose in flood control?
A: No.The dams help to pass water downstream, but they do not serve a purpose in flood control.They do not have storage for flood waters or moderate their release.
Q: Why are the Guadalupe Valley Lakes not considered flood control lakes?
A: The Guadalupe Valley Lakes are often referred to as “constant-level” lakes, but really act as “pass-through” lakes. There is no room for temporary storage of flood waters in these lakes, so during a flood event all flood water is released from the dam at the same rate it flows into the lake upstream. Additionally, the Guadalupe Valley Lakes cannot moderate flood flows to minimize downstream impacts.
Q: How do spillgate failures pose a public safety risk?
A: There are several different ways in which the spillgates can fail and it is impossible to predict when or how failures may occur. There is also no effective way to warn anyone downstream of the dam of the surge of water that results from a spillgate failure. Anyone who may be on or in the direct vicinity of the dams at the time of a spillgate failure would be in danger, as well as anyone in and around the downstream area.
Q: How do you respond to those who say that the safety risk posed by these dams is being exaggerated?
A: Safety is our main concern. In addition to our in-house engineers, we have consulted with third-party engineering experts – including nationally recognized firms Freese and Nichols, Inc. and Black & Veatch – to assess the condition of the dams. Based on these assessments we can say with certainty that the dams are beyond their useful life and the original structural steel components are compromised. While it is impossible to predict when or how failures may occur, the failures at Lake Dunlap and Lake Wood reinforced the reality of the risk posed by these dams and the imminent need for replacement.
Q: Is there a way to eliminate the safety risk?
A: Drawing down the lakes and allowing the river to flow naturally is the only way to minimize the safety risks associated with spillgate failures. Though this is a difficult decision, it is necessary to mitigate the risk these dams pose to the surrounding communities until a long-term solution can be identified and funded.
NEW – 9/5/19
Q: Is GBRA’s concern for safety based on the unlikely scenario of all three spillgates of a dam failing simultaneously?
A: Our concern for safety is based on the unpredictable nature of spillgate failures. While the failure of three spillgates simultaneously would be a worst case scenario, the failure of a single spillgate poses an imminent risk to anyone on and around the dam.
Q: What is the Black & Veatch assessment based on?
A: Nationally-recognized engineering firm Black & Veatch conducted an assessment on a hinge removed from the failed spillgate at Lake Dunlap. The assessment was entirely based on the condition of the hinge and its likely indication of the condition of the same hinges in the other dams. Based on this assessment, Black & Veatch concluded the dams be taken out of operation.
Q: Why can’t GBRA just close the lakes to activity instead of draining them?
A:. We work in conjunction with local law enforcement – including game wardens and county Sherriff’s departments – to enforce the restricted areas around the dams. However, no local law enforcement entity would have the manpower to patrol all lakes and enforce a no-activity mandate.
Q: If GBRA is worried about safety, why was activity on the lakes allowed during Labor Day weekend?
A: No local law enforcement entity has the resources available to enforce a “no activity” mandate on the Guadalupe Valley Lakes. GBRA advised the community to exercise caution around the lakes and suggested that activities be conducted lakeside and not on the lakes. The lakes remain open in order to allow affected property owners at least 30 days notice of the drawdown so that they have time to secure their property, understanding some property owners may live out of the area.
Q: What is the timeline for lowering the lakes?
A: Prioritizing the safety of the surrounding communities above all else, a drawdown of the Guadalupe Valley Lakes is scheduled to begin on September 16, 2019. The drawdown will begin at Lake Gonzales and progress upstreamto Meadow Lake, Lake Placid and Lake McQueeney. We anticipate the drawdown of each lake to take approximately three days and the drawdown of all lakes will be completed by the end of the month, barring any unforeseen delays.
Q: In what order will the lakes be dewatered?
A: GBRA is working closely with Texas Parks and Wildlife to create a dewatering plan that minimizes the impacts to the surrounding environment. Based on the current recommendation the drawdown will begin at the southern-most lake, Lake Gonzales, and progress upstream.
Q: How much will the lakes be dewatered?
A: The dewatering of the lakes will return the Guadalupe River to its natural state, which varies in depth. It is anticipated the drawdown will reduce the depth by up to 12 feet in some places.
NEW – 9/5/19
Q: Will there still be water in the lakes or will they dry up completely?
A: The Guadalupe River will continue to flow naturally following the drawdown of the Guadalupe Valley Lakes.
Q: Was Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) consulted or involved in the decision to dewater the lakes?
A: No, the decision and authority to dewater the lakes was GBRA’s alone. The Authority made this decision out of a concern for public safety due to the condition and failures of original steel components within the spillgates. In compliance with state law, GBRA has submitted an Aquatic Resource Relocation Plan (ARRP) to TPWD intended to control and limit the impacts of dewatering on aquatic resources within the system. GBRA will consult with TPWD on the implementation of the ARRP, and resource teams from various agencies will be assisting GBRA with mitigation activities during the actual drawdown.
Q: What will be done about the endangered clams and mussels that will be left dry with the dewatering?
A: GBRA is working closely with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to create a dewatering plan that minimizes the impacts to the aquatic life in and around the lakes. GBRA and Texas Parks and Wildlife representatives will work the banks of each lake during the dewatering to relocate any impacted aquatic life into the river channel.
Q: Does the drawdown further endanger already endangered wildlife?
A: GBRA is working closely with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to create a dewatering plan that minimizes the impacts to the aquatic life in and around the lakes. The remaining river will continue to support the local riparian ecosystem, including any endangered shellfish species.
Q: Will the dewatering of the lakes ruin the ecosystem?
A: No, the remaining river will continue to support the local riparian ecosystem.
Q: What happens if my water well goes dry as a result of the drawdown?
A: GBRA is not responsible for individual water wells. Individuals need to contact their local water supplier or a well driller.
Q: Will GBRA raise the water level at Lake McQueeney in order for residents to get their boats out?
A: GBRA is working to determine whether temporarily raising the water level at Lake McQueeney will be feasible. Updates will be provides on GVLakes.com as they become available.
Q: What will the river look like between Seguin and Lake Gonzales?
A: We do not anticipate a significant change to the river flow or elevation between Seguin and Lake Gonzales as a result of the dewatering.
Q: Will the lakes be closed after they are drained?
A: No. GBRA will not be restricting access to the lake bed or river following the drawdown.
Q: Was there a board vote on the lowering of the lakes?
A: This decision did not require board action or approval. Board members have remained engaged and updated on the status of the dams and the subsequent engineering evaluations. After a thorough due diligence effort including third-party engineering assessments, the decision to lower the lakes was made by the General Manager and CEO.
NEW – 9/5/19
Q: What is GBRA’s plan for the newly exposed land?
A: The newly exposed land will be part of the flood plain. There are currently no plans for the trimming of new vegetation growth, but GBRA has not prohibited property owners from maintaining exposed land areas adjacent to their property at Lake Dunlap and Lake Wood.
Q: Will GBRA allow people to cross the exposed land to access the river?
A: Yes. GBRA will allow property owners to cross the exposed land to access the river.
Q: Will property owners need to lease the exposed land from GBRA to access the river?
A: No. Property owners will not need to lease the exposed land in order to access the river.
Q: Is GBRA leasing the exposed land to property owners at Lake Wood?
A: No. GBRA is not leasing property at Lake Wood.
Q: Do I need a permit to repair my dock or bulkhead following the drawdown?
A: If your structure is already permitted, a permit is not required for repairs or replacement but the owner shall notify GBRA of such maintenance performed. The owner may, without paying additional permit feeds, perform routine or preventative maintenance. Routine maintenance includes small-scale work done on a regular basis that is associated with the general upkeep of the structures and protects against normal wear and tear. Preventative maintenance includes inspection, detection, correction, and prevention of major deterioration or failure of such structure and its components.
Q: Do I need a permit to construct a new bulkhead, dock, or structure in the lake bed?
A: Yes. A GBRA permit is required in addition to required “no-rise” certifications from the County or City Floodplain Administrator along with permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as applicable. GBRA is not assessing a fee for its permits.
Q: Can I build stairs down to the lower land in order to access the river?
A: A GBRA permit is required in addition to required “no-rise” certifications from the County of City Floodplain Administrator along with permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as applicable, for any new construction in the flood plain area. GBRA is not assessing a fee for its permits.
Q: Do contractors need a GBRA permit to work on my structure or “rescue” my boat?
A: Owners of existing structures are required to follow the provision of their dock permits for maintenance. There are no permit requirements for “rescuing” boats.
Q: Can I cut the stumps around my dock?
A: Yes. Contact GBRA first so the area can be defined, so that GBRA and TPWD to implement habitat mitigation strategies.
Q: Who do I call if people are under my dock or in my backyard?
A: Call 911 or local law enforcement if anyone trespasses on your private property or is accessing personal property on or around your dock.
Q: Will vegetation take over the exposed lake beds?
A: Some vegetation growth is expected in the exposed lake beds, though it may vary by location due to different characteristics.
Q: Can I trim the vegetation in the exposed lake bed adjacent to my property?
A: GBRA is currently not prohibiting the trimming or mowing of vegetation in exposed lake bed areas.
Q: Can I make and burn debris piles in the lake bed?
A: Not at this time. GBRA will consult with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to determine what options, if any, exist for creating burn piles within the floodplain.
Q: Can I make a beach/put down sand between my property and the river?
A: Any fill, including sand, added into the floodplain – including in the lake bed – must receive a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Q: Will my trees die?
A: Some trees may die depending on the root systems proximity to the water table.
Q: Is GBRA working with anyone on the preservation of cypress trees?
A: GBRA is working with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) to address the cypress trees surrounding the lakes.
Q: Is the water supply for GBRA’s customers secure?
A: Yes. The Guadalupe Valley Lakes do not store the water supply. GBRA’s water supply is stored in Canyon Lake.
Q: Is GBRA liable for potential damages for property due to a spillgate failure or the planned dewatering?
A: GBRA is not liable for potential damages to property as a result of a spillgate failure or the planned dewatering. All structures should be designed and constructed to withstand varying lake levels including high water elevations, fast moving water, and low lake levels for short or extended periods of time.
Q: Is GBRA responsible for the maintenance and repair of the dam at Canyon Lake?
A: No, the dam, lake and all adjacent property at Canyon Lake is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. GBRA manages the water rights and is responsible for wastewater treatment.
NEW – 9/5/19
Q: Why is GBRA’s office expansion on hold? When will it resume?
A: The situation with the Guadalupe Valley Lakes is a top priority for GBRA, in addition to maintaining its award-winning water and wastewater services. The planned office expansion is on hold to allow all staff to focus on the tasks at hand. A timeline for when this project will resume is yet to be determined.
Q: What will GBRA’s purpose be after the lakes are dewatered?
A: GBRA is primarily a purveyor of water and wastewater services. GBRA’s hydroelectricity operation represents less than five percent of the organization’s overall business.
Q: Will GBRA move its board meetings to a bigger venue?
A: GBRA is working to provide all those affected by the planned drawdown with multiple opportunities for asking questions and providing feedback. Beginning in August, all board meetings will be streamed live on both gbra.org and GVLakes.com. GBRA has also created GVLakes.com to serve as a hub of information for the community and established a dedicated email address – GVLakes@gbra.org– for affected residents to ask questions and provide feedback.
Q: Were cars towed from the GBRA board meeting?
A: Please be advised that parking for GBRA board meetings is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. GBRA does not contract with a towing company to remove cars parked on or off its property during board meetings, however, neighboring businesses will tow cars parked illegally on their property.
Q: Does GBRA provide water and wastewater services to those on and around the lakes?
A: No. Those on and around the lakes are not GBRA water or wastewater customers.
Who Do I Contact?
GBRA continues to work closely with the community to mitigate the impact of this decision by meeting regularly with the lake associations and is committed to remaining engaged and responsive. If you have a lake association, we encourage you to get involved with them as they are the best point of contact and source of information to ask questions and provide input about your specific lake.
GBRA has also established a dedicated email address to help streamline and prioritize communications with property owners and community members affected by this situation.
Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority
Follow the Latest News
Businesses worry about profits vanishing with lakes
(Seguin Gazette – 8/28/19)
Future property values muddy ahead of GBRA lake drainages
(KSAT 12 – 8/27/19)
Residents seek legal fight with GBRA to save lakes
(San Antonio Express-News – 8/24/19)
GBRA is right to drain lakes
(San Antonio Express-News – 8/22/19)
GBRA pushes forward with lake drainage plans despite pushback
(KSAT 12 – 8/21/19)
GBRA sticks with decision to drain lakes despite residents’ pleas to stop
(San Antonio Express-News – 8/21/19)
GBRA pulls plug on lakes over worries about dams
(New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung – 8/16/19)
The Great Drain
(San Antonio Express-News – 8/15/19) *requires subscription
River Authority Announces Four Texas Lakes Will Be Drained To Prevent Floodgate Failure
(Texas Public Radio – 8/15/19)
(Seguin Gazette – 8/15/19)
GBRA to begin “systemic” draining of four remaining lakes next month
(News 4 – 8/15/19)
GBRA draining four area lakes
(Kens 5 – 8/15/19)
4 area lakes to be drained amid concerns over aging dams
(KSAT 12 – 8/15/19)
Four GBRA Lakes to be Drained
(WOAI – 8/15/19)
Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority Takes Step to Mitigate Risk Posed by Hydro Dams
(Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority – 8/15/19)
GBRA Considers Emptying 4 Lakes Along Guadalupe River Out of Caution
(Spectrum News – 7/18/19)
Lake Dunlap Association Campaigning For Water District
(Texas Public Radio – 6/29/19)
Look at viable solutions for dam repair
(Seguin Gazette – 6/26/19)
Lake Dunlap homeowners proposing to buy destroyed dam and replace it
(News 4 – 6/25/19)
Residents of Guadalupe River lakes brace for worst
(San Antonio Express-News – 6/22/19)
City Releases Statement On Lake Dunlap Dam Breach, Areas Water Supply
(San Marcos Corridor News – 5/15/19)
No quick or cheap fix for dam spillway at Lake Dunlap
(News 4 – 5/15/19)
Lake Dunlap to completely drain after dam failure
(Seguin Gazette – 5/14/19)
Lake Dunlap empties after floodgate fails
(CBS Austin – 5/14/19)