(LCRA) The Lower Colorado River Authority is extending the ongoing drawdowns of lakes LBJ and Marble Falls by three weeks to assist area residents recovering from recent historic flooding.
The refill now is set to begin Monday, March 18, about 11 weeks after the drawdowns began.
In close consultation with the cities of Marble Falls, Horseshoe Bay and others, LCRA determined the lowerings should be extended to provide more time for residents to remove debris and repair docks, retaining walls and other structures damaged by major flooding along the Colorado and Llano rivers in October 2018.
“It will be a while before waterfront property owners on the Colorado River in the Lake LBJ and Lake Marble Falls areas can recover from the October flood and adjust to changes in the river,” said Phil Wilson, LCRA general manager. “Normally a drawdown would not last more than two months, but we have not experienced a flood of this magnitude from the Llano River since 1935. After talking with local officials and residents about the extent of damage to private property and amount of cleanup still needed, we determined a longer drawdown was warranted.”
Lake Marble Falls has been lowered 7 feet, and Lake LBJ is down about 4 feet. Lake LBJ is being kept at a level of about 820.8 feet above mean sea level to assist the Texas Department of Transportation in rebuilding the RM 2900 bridge destroyed by the massive flood on the Llano River in October and to allow LCRA’s Thomas C. Ferguson Power Plant to continue to operate. TxDOT has said that lowering Lake LBJ beyond 4 feet would hinder its ability to keep the reconstruction of the bridge on schedule.
Marble Falls Mayor John Packer said he was pleased the lake lowerings are being extended.
“I am very pleased to be working closely with Phil Wilson and his staff at LCRA as we continue to address the post-flood recovery. We jointly reached the conclusion that the drawdown should be extended three weeks to allow property owners more time to complete repairs and cleanup,” Packer said.
Horseshoe Bay Mayor Steve Jordan said residents will put the additional three weeks of drawdown to good use.
“The close working relationship we have with LCRA allowed us to be a participant in reaching the decision to continue the lake drawdown period,” Jordan said. “We look forward to continuing to work hand in hand with Phil Wilson and his LCRA team.”
The refill is set to begin Monday, March 18. Both lakes are expected to be back within their normal operating ranges by Friday, March 22.
LCRA began the lake lowerings on Dec. 30, but paused the drawdowns for several days in January because of floodgate operations at Tom Miller Dam.
Unforeseen circumstances such as floods or power emergencies could prompt LCRA to change or cancel the drawdowns. Equipment and tools should not be left in the lake unattended and should be removed from the lakebed when not in use.
For more information, visit lcra.org/lakelowerings.
The Lower Colorado River Authority serves customers and communities throughout Texas by managing the lower Colorado River; generating and transmitting electric power; providing a clean, reliable water supply; and offering access to nature at more than 40 parks, recreation areas and river access sites along the Texas Colorado River, from the Hill Country to the Gulf Coast. LCRA and its employees are committed to enhancing the lives of Texans through water stewardship, energy and community services. LCRA was created by the Texas Legislature in 1934. For more information, visit lcra.org.