Common Misconceptions

The Spillgates are failing due to lack of maintenance

False. Regular maintenance and inspection efforts have allowed the spillgates to remain in operation well beyond their useful life. The spillgates are failing due to their age. At more than 90 years old, the structural steel components are compromised due to deterioration.


False. GBRA remains a vested partner in the collective effort to ensure the sustainability of the Guadalupe Valley Lakes. In addition to thousands of hours of staff time working cooperatively with the community toward a solution, GBRA has funded the engineering design for Lake Dunlap, Lake McQueeney and Lake Placid; secured bond funding at below-market interest rates on behalf of the WCIDs; will contribute all gross revenues from the sale of hydroelectricity back to each WCID; and is serving as the project administrator for the spillgate replacement projects at no cost to the WCIDs. 

GBRA is operating the spillgates unnecessarily 

The Guadalupe Valley Lakes act as pass through lakes, so water is released from the spillgates at the same rate it flows into the lake upstream. When the spillgates are at their normal operational height, flows are passed downstream through the powerhouse. When flows exceed powerhouse capacity (approximately 1,500 cfs) the spillgates are lowered in order to prevent overtopping of the earthen embankments forming the dam, which could lead to a washout of the dam. 

Gbra receives public funds for the maintenance and operation of the dams

False. GBRA has never received any public monies for the dams. Maintenance and operational costs have been covered by the sale of hydroelectricity generated by the dams. GBRA’s hydroelectric division has been operating at an annual deficit following the deregulation of the state’s electricity market. 

Gbra makes money on the guadalupe valley lakes

Guadalupe Valley Energy Coop (GVEC) buys hydroelectric power generated by the dams from GBRA. While the dams generate revenue, it is not enough to cover their annual operating costs, resulting in a deficit. 

GBRA is taxing property owners to rebuild the dams

GBRA is not a taxing entity and does not receive any tax money. Property owners on Lake Dunlap, Lake McQueeney and Lake Placid voted to form Water Control and Improvement Districts (WCID) to fund the necessary replacement of the spillgates on their respective dams. GBRA works in partnership with the WCIDs but is not responsible for the collection of tax revenues. 

GBRA is choosing not to repair the dams

All activities that require individuals to be inside or on top of the raised spillgates were discontinued in the interest of safety following the catastrophic spillgate failure at Lake Dunlap in 2019, due to the deteriorated condition of the structural steel components. Consultation with third-party experts has confirmed attempting to repair the 90-year old spillgates is no longer a viable solution and outright replacement is necessary to continue operations. 

the dams are not a safety issue

False. An Independent Expert Panel (IEP) of three engineers completed a full assessment of the Guadalupe Valley Lakes in November 2019, reinforcing the risk posed by the aging dams by outlining prohibited and restricted unsafe zones throughout the Guadalupe Valley Lakes system. Three spillgate failures in six years indicate the likelihood of similar failures at the three remaining lakes. 

GBRA is using money for other projects instead of replacing the dams

All of GBRA’s operations are self-sustaining, with each operation relying on its own separate budget with individual rate setting, to ensure maximum benefit for those who use the services. Due to market conditions, including the deregulation of the state’s electricity market, the hydroelectric division cannot establish sufficient rates to cover the cost of its maintenance and operation, eliminating the possibility of potential monies that could be used to fund the necessary replacement of the spillgates.