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GBRA Addresses Spillgate Public Safety Issues

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GBRA Addresses Spillgate Public Safety Issues

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Seguin-area residents packed GBRA's boardroom on Wednesday to share their concerns about the management of spillgates at six lakes managed by the agency. GBRA in turn warned of safety concerns posed by more spillgate failures at hydroelectric dams that are almost 100 years old. Image courtesy of CBS Austin.

The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority’s (GBRA) monthly meeting was packed yesterday as Guadalupe County residents showed up at the agency’s board meeting to share their concerns about the safety of spillgates at four other hydroelectric lakes.

No decision was made regarding the best way to ensure public safety on the lakes, Kevin Patteson, GBRA general manager, said in a press release issued later on Wednesday.

“GBRA’s concerns remain,” he said. “The video of the Dunlap spillgate collapse validates our concerns, and we are not willing to risk lives should there be another spillgate failure.”

To view the meeting agenda and watch archived video, click here.

Spillgates failed at Lake Dunlap on May 14 and on Lake Wood two years ago.

One option to significantly lower lakes McQueeney, Placid, Meadow, and Gonzales by up to 12 feet was discussed at the GBRA board of directors meeting Wednesday, July 17, 2019, in Seguin.

“While no decision was made today regarding the best way to ensure public safety on the lakes, GBRA’s concerns remain,” said Kevin Patteson, GBRA general manager. “The video of the Dunlap spillgate collapse validates our concerns, and we are not willing to risk lives should there be another spillgate failure.”

GBRA’s six hydroelectric dams were built in the late 1920s and early 1930s, and are at the end of their useful life.

The board of directors voted to conduct additional engineering inspections at Lake Dunlap in an effort to identify the cause and point of failure of the spillgate collapse, and understand how that information can be applied to the gates at the other hydro dams.

GBRA is working with county and state law enforcement to identify public safety strategies that can be implemented to reduce the risk of danger to recreationalists, Patty Gonzales, GBRA’s communications manager, said in the press release.

Ample public notice will be provided in advance prior to any changes to lake level elevations.

In May 22, Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) expanded restricted zones upstream and downstream of McQueeney Dam and upstream of TP-4 on Lake Placid.

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