One month ago, Lake Conroe was at 201.3′ above msl, approximately 5″above normal pool. Despite SLLP releases in the Spring, for the first time since 2018, we have enjoyed an extended period of normal lake levels. During January to June the lake was often above normal pool of 201′ msl by as much as 6″ to 24″, with normal operating releases maintaining the lake at full pool. These normal releases, due to many rain events, caused zero downstream flooding as has been normal for nearly 40 years in the spring.
As a reminder, Lake Conroe has been a contributor to downstream flooding only twice in 40 years, both times from rain events that were unprecedented (Hurricane Harvey and the Floods of 1994). The SLLP has been fully documented by two professional engineering firms to be ineffective in the case of these types of major rain events. These two studies, one funded by SJRA and one funded by the LCA, reachedthe same conclusion. To publicly state that the SLLP is beneficial is deceitful to residents who live downstream of Lake Conroe and who will suffer flooding if a similar major rain event occurs, even if Lake Conroe is 2′ below normal.
On August 2nd the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) and the City of Houston (CoH) restarted seasonal lowering. We have now lost almost 11″ of lake level since July 18. Since the SLLP restarted there have been absolutely no storm threats and zero chance of regional flooding. Yet the SJRA and CoH have wasted billions of gallons of water “to prevent flooding” at Lake Houston, where the water from Lake Conroe is released to the Gulf of Mexico.The SLLP provides a false “promise of protection” to those relying on this program to prevent flooding. It is diverting attention from flood mitigation projects that will actually reduce flooding and that should have been completed long before now. Where has the money gone from the CoH flood tax passed in the 1980s to reduce flooding? Lake Houston area taxpayers suffering from Hurricane Harvey flooding are being deceived into believing the SLLP is effective. In a major rain event flooding will occur regardless of the Lake Conroe water level.
The LCA legal efforts to stop the SLLP continue, and our next court date is August 24 in Montgomery County District Court. SJRA and CoH continue to fight jurisdiction, i.e., claiming they cannot be held accountable for their actions, and have yet to address the real issue of whether the SLLP has any merit.We also continue to challenge the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for their lack of action on the LCA’s well documented complaints as to water waste and violation of state water laws. These efforts in the last year have now fully consumed our lake protection reserve fund, so we are asking for donations to continue the legal challenges to the SLLP and stop this nonsensical waste of water, which has .
Just after Labor Day the SJRA and CoH will have reduced the lake level 18″ below full pool. Evaporation will further reduce the level probably another 4″ to 6″. The levels will recover only if we receive normal winter rains. Attached to this letter is a summary of what we are going to be asking the lake area residents to do to end the SLLP. In February 2020 the SJRA promised to review the SLLP after two years in February 2022 – that is six months from now, and we need to organize efforts to force an end to the SLLP. The SLLP is wasteful, ineffective, and deceitful – it must end as promised not be continued.
Kevin Lacy – Lake Conroe Association President