Lake Placid Spillgates to Remain Lowered Until Construction Begins

October 29, 2021

SEGUIN, Texas – Engineering evaluation of the non-responsive spillgate at Lake Placid has determined that further efforts to re-engage the spillgate would pose several additional risks, including the gate becoming permanently bound during operation. As a result, the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) will adhere to the engineering recommendation to keep the gates in the lowered position until the spillgate replacement project begins next year.

The spillgates at Lake Placid were lowered to pass flows of more than 15,000 cfs downstream on October 14, 2021. During early morning operations, spillgate #2 was partially lowered, became unresponsive and would lower no further. The gate then progressively dropped to the fully lowered position and would not respond to operational efforts to raise it.

The evaluation report, prepared by third-party engineering consultants Black & Veatch, noted permanent and significant deflection, or warping, in the upstream leaf of the spillgate. The deflection in the upstream leaf prevents the spillgates from functioning normally by causing the upstream and downstream gate leaves to make contact with one another and bind during operation. This compromised ability to operate the gate in its current condition presents significant operational and safety concerns and several additional risks, most notably being the gate getting permanently bound partway through operation and unable to be fully lowered to pass flows downstream. The complete evaluation report is available here: Black & Veatch Evaluation Report.

Construction to replace the two antiquated bear-trap style spillgates on the Lake Placid dam with new hydraulically-actuated steel crest gates is scheduled to begin in 2022. The estimated timeline for project completion is 24 months from the start of construction, pending delays due to weather.

“While we are disappointed that we cannot safely attempt to resume spillgate operations at Lake Placid, the plan to complete the necessary replacement of the spillgates is already underway thanks to collaboration with the Lake Placid WCID, Citizens United for Lake Placid, and the Lake Placid community,” said General Manager and CEO Kevin Patteson. “We have already finalized the engineering design for the Lake Placid restoration project and we expect construction to begin early next year.”

Lake Placid formed a Water Control and Improvement District (WCID) in April 2020 as part of the collective effort to address the necessary replacement of the spillgates. The WCID was approved by voters on November 3, 2020. GBRA secured $40 million in funding from the Texas Water Development Board’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund program on behalf of the WCID in February 2021. Per the financing and operation agreements in place between GBRA and the Lake Placid WCID, the WCID will be responsible for the debt service on the bond, as well as future maintenance and operations costs of the new dam. GBRA will continue to own and operate the dam, while contributing all gross revenues from the sale of hydroelectric power generated by the Lake Placid dam back to the WCID.

More information, including the latest updates on the Guadalupe Valley Lakes, is available at

PREVIOUS Lake Placid Updates

October 22, 2021 at 4 p.m. CT – Executive Manager of Engineering Charlie Hickman updated the Board of Directors on the non-responsive spillgate at Lake Placid during the October Board Meeting. Evaluation of the non-responsive spillgate is expected to be ongoing throughout the next week.

October 19, 2021 at 5 p.m. CT – GBRA and third-party engineering consultants Black & Veatch were on site at Lake Placid today conducting inspections of the non-responsive spillgate. Evaluations are ongoing.

October 15, 2021 at 3 p.m. CT – Efforts to reengage the non-responsive spillgate are ongoing and will continue throughout the weekend and early next week until flows reduce enough to allow visibility for further inspection.

October 15 at 9 a.m. CT – The hydroelectric operations team remains on site and is working to reengage the gate to return it to operation.

October 14, 2021 at 5:30 p.m. CT – The GBRA hydroelectric operations team is currently working on a non-responsive spillgate at Lake Placid. Property owners are advised to secure all boats and recreational property.