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Lake & Rivers Local News

GBRA Warns Recreationalists to Stay Away from Hydroelectric Dams

Prohibited and restricted unsafe zones around Lake Placid's dam. Image courtesy of GBRA.

Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority on Facebook Friday reminded recreationalists that hydroelectric dams at its Guadalupe Valley lakes are past their prime and pose “life-threatening risks” to anyone swimming or boating within prohibited and restricted unsafe zones.

This warning includes dams and spillgates at lakes Dunlap, McQueeney, Placid, Meadow, Gonzales and Wood. Canyon Lake is not part of the Guadalupe Valley lake system.

Maps posted to GVLakes.com provide information about prohibited unsafe zones upstream and downstream of dams and spillgates. Click here to review the maps.

These zones, marked in red, are considered unsafe for boating, canoeing, jet skiing, swimming, wading and tubing.

Restricted unsafe zones, marked in yellow, are deemed unsafe for water activities including swimming, tubing and wading.

GBRA made its Facebook post after reaching a settlement last week with property owners who sued in 2019 to keep it from draining lakes Gonzales, Meadow, Placid and McQueeney.

As part of that agreement, in November, voters will decide whether two create new water control and improvement districts on Lake McQueeney and Lake Placid that would allow GBRA to raise money to pay for the reconstruction of spillgates and dams then contribute gross revenues from the sale of hydroelectric power at each lake to these taxing districts.

“We appreciate the partnership, dialogue, and collaboration of the residents and lake associations throughout the process.” –GBRA General Manager and CEO Kevin Patteson

According to a press release issued by GBRA last week, its new contracts will address the specifics of the spillgate replacement and dam repair. GBRA will maintain the current operating levels on each lake until work begins on the spillgate replacement and repairs on that lake’s dam.

“This settlement agreement is a testament to the results we can achieve when we all work together toward a common goal,” said GBRA General Manager and CEO Kevin Patteson. “We appreciate the partnership, dialogue, and collaboration of the residents and lake associations throughout the process.”

In September 2019, lawsuits by property owners forced GBRA to call off plans to drain lakes Gonzales, Meadow, Placid and McQueeney just as dewatering of Lake Gonzales was scheduled to begin on Sept. 19.

In August, GBRA said a May 14 catastrophic spillgate failure that drained Lake Dunlap left it with no other choice than to drain all of its Guadalupe Valley lakes because their hydroelectric dams — at 90 years or older — had reached the end of their useful lives and needed to be replaced.

About the GBRA

GBRA owns and operates the six hydroelectric dams along the Guadalupe River that create the Guadalupe Valley hydroelectric system. It took ownership of the dams in the 1960s and has maintained them for more than 55 years.

Established by the Texas Legislature, GBRA was first created in 1933 under Section 59, Article 16 of the Constitution of Texas as a water conservation and reclamation district and a public corporation called the Guadalupe River Authority.

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