Why Lake Houston is NOT Releasing Water Despite Approaching Storm

Houston City Council Member Dave Martin’s office issued the following release today re: the lowering of Lake Houston in advance of storm warnings for the weekend. Some people anticipated additional lowering for a lake that had already been lowered due to maintenance. The City will NOT lower the lake. Here’s what’s happening and why.

Lake Houston Not Releasing Any Water

Houston, TX – Council Member Dave Martin would like to make Lake Houston Area residents aware that he has not requested any lowering of Lake Houston since October of 2018. In February, the lake was lowered by one foot to 41.5 feet, allowing for spillway dam repairs, which was a Houston Public Works maintenance project. After repairs were completed the lake was to be naturally refilled to its normal pool elevation of 42.5 feet during the month of March through regular rain events. 

Unseasonably Dry March

This March was unseasonably dry which did not allow for the lake to refill as quickly as expected. On April 1, 2019, Lake Conroe began their seasonal release of water to Lake Houston which will result in the release of one foot of water to Lake Houston, bringing Lake Houston back to normal pool elevation of 42.5 feet by the end of the month. The release from Lake Conroe must be controlled and systematic. To monitor the seasonal release you can visit the San Jacinto River Authority’s website here

Harvey filled the lagoon by the popular boardwalk at River Grove with sand and silt. With Lake Houston lowered for dam repairs, you can see exactly how much sediment was deposited. KSA discussed two options for this area: dredging when the Corps completes its work or turning it into wetlands. Which would you prefer?

Council Member Martin has requested that no additional water be released from Lake Houston during this upcoming weekend’s rain event. The holding of any water received due to rain this weekend will assist in speeding up the refill process for Lake Houston. The current level of Lake Houston is 41.5 feet, which is one foot below its normal level.

To observe Lake Houston water levels please visit the Coastal Water Authority website here

Unnecessary Release

During last weekend’s inclement weather Council Member Martin advised Houston Public Works that an additional release of water from Lake Houston was NOT necessary due to the lake already being low. However, Houston Public Works without the direction from Council Member Martin released an additional six inches of water on Friday, April 5 from Lake Houston. 

Upon notification from Houston Public Works, which occurred after hours over the weekend, that an additional release had been conducted, Council Member Martin immediately requested the closure of all gates at Lake Houston in an effort to stop the unnecessary release of water. We appreciate resident’s patience as our office works diligently with Houston Public Works to improve communication with residents regarding the operations of Lake Houston.  

Martin Calls for Improved Communication and Formal Protocol

As a result of this failure in communication by Houston Public Works, our office has requested the department provide a formal protocol to our office so that we may share with the community. As in the past during inclement weather situations, which predict more than three inches of rain in the San Jacinto Watershed, our office will provide at least 48 hour notification to residents. This advance notification will allow time to secure boats and other water vehicles. For more information please contact the District E office by calling (832) 393-3008 or by emailing DistrictE@houstontx.gov

Posted by Bob Rehak on April 11, 2019

590 Days after Hurricane Harvey