LCA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE
as of April 26, 2018
We just completed attending the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) Board Meeting where topics included SJRA’s new Flood Management Division and lowering Lake Conroe’s lake level to assist in downstream flooding. We wanted to get this information to you as quickly as possible and solicit your feedback. We have requested to be placed on SJRA’s Board Meeting Agenda for their May, 2018 Meeting so as to be able to ask questions and present opinions.
With today’s feedback from SJRA’s Board, Jace Houston (SJRA General Manager) will be working with The City of Houston (who owns 2/3 of the water rights on Lake Conroe) to agree upon using lake levels on Lake Conroe and Lake Houston for flood control. Today’s proposal looks as follows:
· Start releasing ½” to 1” per day effective April 1 to reach a lake level of 200’ (1 foot down from “normal pool”) by April 15
· Maintain Lake Conroe at that 200’ level through May 31
· Resume collecting water in Lake Conroe as of June 1
· Start releasing ½” to 1” per day effective August 1 to reach a lake level of 200’ by August 15 and a lake level of 199’ (2 feet down from “normal pool”) by August 31
· Maintain Lake Conroe at that 199’ level through September 30
· Resume collecting water in Lake Conroe as of October 1
· During any period where SJRA is releasing water and rain enters the forecast, stop the release and allow the West Fork of the San Jacinto River to drain down in preparation of accepting rainfall runoff within the basin (watershed). Once rain leaves the forecast, resume releases.
· No “pre-releases” of water into the West Fork of the San Jacinto River before a storm
· No “seasonal lowering” of lake level
· When weather forecast predicts an average of greater than 3” of rain in the basin, start releasing water 24 hours prior to the rainfall event. Lower lake level by 1 foot to an elevation of 41.5’
Any proposed program would be “Reviewed” annually and “Renewable” annually in February of each year. These plans would be temporary in nature (starting out with a goal of 2 years) as flood control studies are completed and the results of remediation/dredging of the West Fork of the San Jacinto River are evaluated.
Regarding the proposed remediation/dredging of the lower West Fork of the San Jacinto River, the Corps of Engineers is spearheading this effort. A goal of removing 3 million cubic yards of sand could be achieved in 6 months minimum and could take up to 18 months. Work could proceed as soon as June 8, 2018.
An unresolved issue at this time relates to the “permitted yield” of Lake Conroe. Currently, the maximum yield (withdrawal) is 100,000 acre feet per year. SJRA owns 1/3 of that “yield” while The City of Houston owns 2/3. Will any releases of water for flood control be counted against the maximum annual amount of water allowed to be withdrawn? Under current interpretation, TCEQ would state it DOES count against “yield”. It is expected that SJRA and The City of Houston will attempt to modify their “permit” with TCEQ to remove such a stipulation so that water released for flood control does not count against the 100,000 acre feet annual “yield”.
Regarding SJRA’s new Flood Management Division, funding of this new division requested by Governor Abbott is unresolved at this time. SJRA hopes to be funded by the State. Initially, funding will be achieved by adding 1 ½ cents to the raw water rate SJRA charges its customers.
WE’RE WRITING TO REQUEST YOUR FEEDBACK. Help us represent what you think provides the best solution to this flood control issue and, specifically, the use of reducing lake levels as proposed above. Please e-mail us at [email protected] with your thoughts. Thank you for your attention.
Mike Bleier, President
Lake Conroe Association