SJRA Resumes Seasonal Release 3 Days Before Scheduled End

For the record, this morning, the SJRA resumed lowering Lake Conroe just three days before the scheduled end of its Spring seasonal release. As of 1PM, the SJRA is releasing 1581 cubic feet per second. Recent rains raised the lake level more than a half foot from the target of 200 feet to 200.53 feet.

Source as of approximately 11 a.m. on May 29, 2020.

SJRA Coordinated with CoH

The lake had risen to approximately 200.4 feet for the last two weeks of May. And, when heavy rains entered the forecast, readers began to ask whether SJRA would lower it to 200 again. However, SJRA did not resume lowering at that time.

Reportedly, the City of Houston was worried about overloading Lake Houston at a time when:

  • Dam repairs were in progress
  • Heavy rainfall was in the forecast

So the SJRA held water back.

What 500 CFS looks like. Photographed 7/31/2018, during a tour of the Lake Conroe Dam. The current release is three times this rate.

According to sources, the Coastal Water Authority has opened its gates on Lake Houston and is coordinating release rates with the SJRA so as not to flood downstream residents.

Exact Text of Spring Lake Lowering Policy

For the record, here is the official SJRA lake lowering policy renewed with some modifications after months of divisive debate. Lake Houston residents wanted the extra buffer against flooding. Lake Conroe residents claimed there was no proof it worked. They also claimed that it was lowering their property values and destroying their tax base.

In the Spring, the policy calls for:

“Beginning April 1, release only an amount of water from Lake Conroe to create a one foot capacity to catch rainfall and storm runoff (from 201’ mean sea level to 200’ msl). Recapture of lake level beginning June 1.”

Average Lake Level By Month for 46 Years

Also note that the lake level rarely reaches 201. The average varies each month depending on rainfall and evaporation. So when Lake Conroe reached 200.53, it exceeded the norm.

Lake Conroe seasonal levels by month. Source: SJRA

We need to watch this closely. In 2.5 days, this release should stop until the SJRA resumes seasonal releases on August 1. Please report any flooding through the contact page on this web site.

Text of Fall Policy

The fall seasonal lowering coincides with the peak of hurricane season. The SJRA Fall seasonal lowering policy states:

Beginning August 1, release only an amount of water from Lake Conroe to create a one foot capacity to catch rainfall and storm runoff (from 201’ msl to 200’ msl). After September 1, increase capacity an additional six inches (from 200’ msl to 199.5’ msl). If a named storm is predicted to impact our region, the COH may initiate an additional release of six inches (to 199’ msl) by notifying SJRA in writing of their call for release. Recapture beginning October 1.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 5/29/2020

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