LCRA lowers Inks, LBJ lakes several feet to allow repairs after 2018 floods

Hill Country

LLANO COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — The Lower Colorado River Authority begins lowering two lakes northwest of Austin Thursday to allow property owners to repair docks and other structures damaged in historic flooding in the fall of 2018.

The LCRA will lower Lake LBJ and Inks Lake a foot per day over the next several days, resulting in a four-foot drop in LBJ and an eight-foot drop in Inks.

Intense rainfall throughout the Highland Lakes region in October 2018 caused flooding along the Llano and Colorado rivers and ripped docks, retaining walls and other structures from the shores. High water also collapsed the RM 2900 bridge over the Llano River.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency estimated it would pay out $30 million in claims caused by floodwaters.

Both lakes will remain at their lower levels until late February to give property owners time to make repairs and remove debris.

Debris in the water has remained a problem in the Highland Lakes system since the storms, leading to complaints from boaters and property owners.

The draw-down is the second in as many years for Lake LBJ, a rare event brought on by requests from locals, including Burnet County commissioners in August.

“LCRA normally doesn’t lower the same lake two years in a row, but we are making an exception after hearing from local officials and residents about needed repairs and maintenance resulting from the historic flooding last year,” LCRA’s executive vice president of water John Hofmann said in a news release.

Permits are not required for homeowners who need to repair docks, but any debris removal, dredging or repairs to retaining walls need to be registered with LCRA here.

The lakes will start refilling on Feb. 24.

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