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River Authority Will Not Drain Texas Lakes Along The Guadalupe River

A group of people swimming on Lake Placid.
Brian Kirkpatrick | Texas Public Radio
A group of people swimming on Lake Placid.

After hundreds of lakeside residents protested the proposed draining of four Texas lakes, the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority has agreed to hold off on the plan. 

Both sides met with a district judge in Seguin on Monday and agreed to an out-of-court deal. It includes a ban keeping people off the lakes for 30 to 60 days while experts create marked "unsafe zones" in the event of floodgate failure.

The GBRA will pay for the cost of creating the zones, and an ordinance with penalties will be implemented for people who enter near the floodgates.

Originally, the GBRA argued the 90-year-old floodgates were in danger of failing, and draining the lakes was a necessary safety precaution.

The attorney representing the residents said evidence from third-party engineers proved there was no imminent danger. They also argued draining the lakes would economically harm the communities

For months, the GBRA pointed to the floodgate failure at two other lakes, Lake Wood in 2016 and Lake Dunlap in May, as examples for what could happen at Lakes Gonzales, McQueeney, and Placid and Meadow Lake.

But critics claim the real reason for the planned draining is because the GBRA is losing money from the hydroelectric dams.

The authority explained it does not have the funding to fix all the floodgates and is seeking public partnerships. Some residents plan to create their own water control districts to raise tax revenue to maintain the dams and floodgates.

For now, a temporary injunction is granted and a court date is scheduled for early October 2020. 

Transparency Note: GBRA's attorney Lamont Jefferson is the chairman of TPR's board of directors. 

Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at and on Twitter at @TPRBrian.

Bri Kirkham contributed to this report. 

Copyright 2020 Texas Public Radio. To see more, visit .

Brian Kirkpatrick has been a journalist in Texas most of his life, covering San Antonio news since 1993, including the deadly October 1998 flooding, the arrival of the Toyota plant in 2003, and the base closure and realignments in 2005.
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