Earlier this year, the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) voted to lower the level of Lake Conroe during the peak of hurricane season. The purpose: to provide an additional buffer against flooding for downstream residents until the river could be dredged. The SJRA has now reached its target of 199 mean feet above seal level (MSL).
Temporary Lowering Accommodates Dredging
The SJRA stated, “This was the target elevation established by the San Jacinto River Authority and the City of Houston to create a temporary flood mitigation benefit while dredging activities take place in the lower part of the San Jacinto River.”
The lowering happened gradually during August. To avoid downstream flooding, the SJRA released water at the rate of 200-300 cubic feet per second. That amounted to about an inch per day. The exact amount varied due to occasional rain and evaporation.
Lake Conroe Will Return to Normal Level After September
“Now that the target elevation has been reached,” said the SJRA, “Reservoir operators have shut off the release of water from the dam and will operate with the goal of maintaining the current elevation through the end of September. After September, any rainfall flowing into the reservoir will be held, and the reservoir will be allowed to return to the normal elevation of 201 ft-msl.”
Update on Dredging Schedule
As tropical activity heats up, this is good news. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is nearing completion of the assembly of the first of two dredges and miles of dredge pipe. The contractor for the Corps’ Emergency West Fork Dredging Project, Great Lakes, is expected to begin dredging on September 6. Dredging will extend from River Grove Park on the west to Chimichurri’s on the east. It’s not clear yet, which end the contractor will begin on. Great Lakes expects to complete the project, weather permitting, by April of next year.
Posted September 1, 2018 by Bob Rehak
368 Days since Hurricane Harvey