Residents Fight Against ‘Dewatering’ Plan For San Antonio-Area Lakes, Leads To Delay

Hundreds of residents protested the plan to begin draining the waterways on Sept. 16. River authority officials argue that aging dams that contain the lakes could fail.

By Brian KirkpatrickSeptember 16, 2019 2:10 pm, , , ,

From Texas Public Radio:

The draining of four area lakes will not begin on Monday because a state district judge in Seguin wants to hear more testimony from plaintiffs seeking to stop the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, or GBRA.

Hundreds of residents protested the plan to begin draining the waterways on Monday, Sept. 16. By Wednesday night, it was unclear when the drainings would actually begin.

They said the GBRA will ruin them and their communities economically by draining Lakes Gonzales, McQueeney, and Placid, and Meadow Lake. Meadow Lake residents are also worried about damage to retaining walls, foundations, water wells, cypress trees and wildlife.

The river authority said it was a public safety issue. But Lake McQueeney resident Steve Pritchard argued that testimony from third party engineers on Wednesday proved that’s just not the case.

“You may have heard a little bit of that today from the engineering reports,” he said. “It’s really not in there that there’s imminent danger. It’s just not in those engineering reports.”

The star plaintiff witness on Wednesday was James Murphy, who managed the dams for the GBRA from 2008 to 2016.

He said there were high level talks to let the dams and floodgates fall into disrepair and then force the lakes to be drained. He claimed GBRA directors considered declaring a public safety emergency if anyone complained.

Murphy says there was never a formal vote on the proposal to walk away from the waterways.

“GBRA deliberately chose this path to do away with the lakes,” he said. “Nothing will change that fact.”

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