In ourDecember 14, 2021,President’s update I provided some general information about the compromise agreement regarding the SLLP that was reached between the Lake Conroe Association (LCA) committee, San Jacinto River Authority(SJRA), the City of Houston (CoH),and Lake Houston Area representatives that met last August and September. The SJRA Board had endorsed the proposed compromise (December 9, 2021) but we were still waiting for confirmation from the City of Houston to officially accept the agreement.While the CoH did not issue any public statement,the City of Houston Public Works did inform the SJRA in January they agreed with the “compromise” SLLP plan for 2023.
The “new” SLLP ,which the LCA viewsasthe first significant improvement in the original SLLP that started in 2018, starts April 1. The result will be to reduce the level of Lake Conroe only 6” from 201’ msl to 200.5’ msl for the Spring lowering period which lasts from April 1 until June1.Data and studies developed by the LCA shows the great majority of the water that has been released for the SLLP has occurred during the Spring period.It is the LCA view that this improvement from the old 1-foot reduction to only a 6-inch reduction will significantly reduce total volumes released from the lake and reduce impacts to Lake Conroe residents.As Spring is typically a heavy rainfall period less continuous releases will be needed to keep the lake 6 inches below normal than one foot below normal. This smaller reduction will be much less damaging going into the summer period of high evaporation.
Page 2 of this letter gives additional details on the new SLLP for both the Spring and Fall lowering cycles. It is hoped the revised program will result in a reasonable balance of the positions taken by various parties on the SLLP impacts to Lake Conroe while downstream flood mitigations projects progress. The SLLP will be reviewed annually each Fall by a committee sponsored by the SJRA Board and composed of representatives from both Lake Conroe and Lake Houston areas and the CoH
The LCA still fully opposes the SLLP due to the lack of any technical study supporting the SLLP and the well-researched position that the SLLP violates the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ)annual water rights usage allocation for the CoH. The TCEQ has still failed to issue a ruling to address the majority of the LCA 2020 formal complaints regarding the SLLPand the resulting waste of water. The LCA Board has just recently dropped its litigation filed in April 2022 to stop the SLLP. The main reason snare the next court hearing would not be until 2023 and a shortage of funding to continue the appeal.
Our reserve fund is now severely depleted and will need to be replenished in the coming year. We hope our successful efforts in negotiating the first improvement in the SLLP will encourage LCA members and Lake Conroe area residents to help us again through new donations. In closing I want to thank all the LCA members and residents who contributed donations to fund the legal effort to stop the SLLP. We firmly believe without that effort we would not have seen the willingness by others to come to the table and modify the SLLP to the new framework. The compromise is a reasonable initial step if the annual review of SLLP continues and progress on downstream flood mitigation projects is clearly visible
Document Source –SJRA Meeting Notes
Notes Recommended Protocol–Lake Conroe
- Beginning April 1, initiate diversions to lower Lake Conroe to create six inches of storage capacity for storm inflows(to 200.5’ msl). (this is a 6” less reduction in the Spring compared to 2018-2022)
- Resume normal recapturing June 1
- In the event a major rainfall is forecasted to impact our region, the City of Houston may use active storm management protocols and initiate a diversion to create up to an additional six inches of storage capacity for storm inflows (to 200.0’ msl). It is acknowledged that under extraordinary weather circumstances,the City of Houston may find it necessary to create capacity below 200.0’ msl
- Beginning August 1, initiate diversions to lower Lake Conroe to create six inches of storage capacity for storm inflows(to 200.5’ msl).
- After Labor Day, increase storage capacity an additional six inches (to 200.0’ msl). (this is a 6” less reduction in the Fall compared to 2018-2022)
- Resume normal recapturing October 1.
- If a named storm is predicted to impact our region, the City of Houston may use active storm management protocols and initiate a diversion to create up to an additional six inches of storage capacity for storm inflows (to 199.5’ msl). It is acknowledged that under extraordinary weather circumstances, the City of Houston may find it necessary to create capacity below 199.5’ msl
Recommended Protocol –Lake Houston
- City of Houston will initiate releases to lower Lake Houston prior to major rainfall events
- Conservation Pool Elevation is 42.5’ msl
- Lake Houston level reduced to 41.5’ msl if 24-hour rainfall forecast of 3 inches or more
- The Recommended Protocol above will extend to the end of 2023 but will be reviewed annually by the stakeholders in October/November of 2022 and 2023
- All water released from Lake Conroe as part of seasonal lake low eringis being accounted for from the City of Houston’s 2/3 share and reported to TCEQ by the City of Houston. Therefore, all final decisions on diversions are ultimately the City’s and must be communicated to the SJRA in writing.This includes defining active storm management protocols.
Notes from K. Lacy -LCA
During 2023 further work will be done to define and communicate the longer-term areas of cooperation between the LCA and other entities regarding near region flood mitigation projects and priorities. This will lead to advocacy efforts regarding residents and business interests on Lake Conroe and along the West Fork Riverand into the Humble and Kingwood area
Kevin Lacy – Lake Conroe Association President