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Overview: Background Information on Lake Lowering Issue

During Hurricane Harvey, the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) released almost 80,000 cubic feet per second from the Lake Conroe Dam. This amounted to ONE-THIRD of all the water coming down the highly populated corridor between Humble and Kingwood. Massive damage resulted.

How Lake Lowering Policy Started

Almost 6,000 structures along the West Fork flooded. That number includes more than 1,100 between Lake Conroe and Porter. Forty-four percent of all the businesses in the Lake Houston Area Chamber experienced damage. The release inundated entire subdivisions. They included Forest Cove townhomes, Barrington, Kingwood Cove, Kingwood Greens, Kings Harbor, and Town Center. Large parts of other subdivisions flooded, too. Some more than two miles from the West Fork.

After touring the damage, Governor Gregg Abbott directed the SJRA to reduce flooding. The SJRA established a Flood Management Division. It also adopted a temporary policy of lowering Lake Conroe from 201 feet to 200 feet in the rainiest months of Spring and 199 feet during the peak of hurricane season.

The extra capacity in Lake Conroe provides a buffer against flooding downstream. It reduces both the volume and rate of water that SJRA must release in a flood.

How Long Policy Will Last

The policy is temporary until other flood mitigation measures can be completed. Those include:

  • Dredging the West Fork. According to the Army Corps, it had become 90% occluded in places from all the sediment washed downstream by Harvey.
  • Adding ten additional floodgates to Lake Houston to it can keep up with the volume released by Lake Conroe. Currently, the gates on Lake Houston can release 10,000 cubic feet per second while the gates on Lake Conroe can release 150,000, 15X more.

Pushback by Lake Conroe Residents

After 1.5 years, Lake Conroe residents rebelled against the policy based on misinformation provided by the Lake Conroe Association (LCA). LCA argues that lowering the lake:

  • Is permanent.
  • Is needless, because dredging is done.
  • Has no scientific basis.
  • Has not worked.
  • Damaged home values and bulkheading around Lake Conroe.
  • Makes boating difficult, especially for people far north on the lake.
  • Reduces the recreational potential of Lake Conroe.
  • Damages the lake-bottom environment
  • Will damage Montgomery County’s tax base.

Some of these claims are just outright false. Most are exaggerated. And virtually all stem from false premises; the policy is not permanent and dredging is not done. Regardless, the LCA has whipped people into a hysterical frenzy. Billboards around the lake ask them to SAVE OUR LAKE.

In contrast, the Lake Houston Area Chamber has launched a fact-based campaign called Lives Over Levels.

Please support the the Lake Houston Chamber’s Lives over Levels Campaign by emailing the SJRA Board or coming to one of their meetings. See below.

Background Information to Help You Write a Letter of Support

The links below provide information that you can use to write letters/emails supporting the lowering of Lake Conroe until dredging is complete and additional floodgates have been added to Lake Houston.

For more information, visit the Lake Lowering page.

Where to Send Correspondence

Please write an email showing your support for continuing the temporary seasonal lowering of Lake Conroe. The SJRA Board of Directors also welcomes input via mail or email. To contact the Board please visit: https://www.sjra.net/about/board/. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the email form. Or email floodmanagementdivision@sjra.net.

Generally, original letters carry more weight than form letters. However, many people do not feel comfortable writing or speaking. So…

The Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce has automated email that makes the process easy.

Also Show Your Support in Person

At the December SJRA board meeting, busloads of Lake Conroe residents flooded the boardroom and the Fire Marshall turned away busloads more. To ensure everyone who wants to speak or show their support gets a chance, the SJRA will hold two special meetings at a larger venue closer to Lake Houston.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS SPECIAL MEETING DATES, TIME, AND LOCATION 
  • Tuesday, January 21, 2020
  • 6pm at Lone Star Convention and Expo Center
  • 9055 Airport Road, Conroe, Texas 77303. 
  • Doors open at 5pm. 
  • Thursday, February 20, 2020
  • 6pm at Lone Star Convention and Expo Center
  • 9055 Airport Road, Conroe, Texas 77303
  • Doors open at 5pm.

Those wishing to address the board or register a comment at a special meeting may fill out a Comment Registration Form https://www.sjra.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Comment-Registration-Form_01062020.pdf. Comment Registration Forms may be submitted at the special meeting. The form may not be mailed, emailed, or dropped off prior to the meeting date.

For Future Reference

For your convenience, this post has become a permanent page called Lake Lowering with all related blog posts and sample letters. You can access it through the main menu. Please share it with friends and family and get them to come to one of the board meetings or write an email of support.