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Feb 21 2018

The wellbeing of Lake Conroe is under attack…again!

If the lake level is lowered, as a few want, you can get used to sights like this as your waterfront property basks in mud flats. Photo: Larry J. LeBlanc

Photo: Larry J. LeBlanc

If the lake level is lowered, as a few want, you can get used to sights like this as your waterfront property basks in mud flats.

 

It seems as though the health and wellbeing of Lake Conroe is once more under attack. Once again a minority of folks who wish to offer a tribute to their god of property values is once again rearing its ugly head on our lake community no matter how it may negatively affect other people. How do they propose to accomplish that? Lower the lake level by three feet. In my reckoning that would mean a lake pool of 198 feet instead of the 201 feet that has been the norm for our lake since it was built.

I suppose that line of thinking has come about because some of those folks had water in their houses during hurricane Harvey, but I am only guessing. Anyway, let me point out the shortsightedness of that line of thinking.

First off let me address the people of the San Jacinto River Authority. They have been doing a fantastic job of managing the water in Lake Conroe since it was built over forty years ago. Just because someone builds houses in a flood area doesn’t mean that area will cease to flood.

Whenever there is a lot of rain, which is pretty common in southeast Texas, there are always those who scream and cry about getting water in their homes and want some kind of government remuneration for their losses. That, however, is why I pay homeowners insurance in order to cover disasters that may befall my home. As far as property values being affected, one needs to know that anyone who buys property on a creek or river, or any body of water for that matter, has the potential to flood, and I can only quote Will Rogers who said, “Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.” That is why my wife and I live on Lake Conroe and not the Gulf of Mexico because she could not live under the probability of having her house blown away by a hurricane at any time so we compromised and me being a Gulf Coast native took the elevation of the dam into consideration and we bought up here close to thirty years ago and have remained high and dry.

Now let me list a few reasons why dropping the lake level to 198 feet as a minority wants is unwise.

Lake Conroe is a water supply reservoir for Conroe, so if the water level of the lake is dropped by three feet that action can deprive citizens of millions of gallons of water just to accommodate the fears of a few. On a normal hot summer day the natural evaporation rate is 180 to 200 million gallons a day so if you start three feet down it can rapidly get to five or six feet before you know it. Top that off with the last drought that dropped the water to eight and a half feet below pool one can see the proposed level drop is unthinkable.

People who live on on canals and on many parts of the lake especially with boat lifts want have lake access if the water level is lowered.

The boat ramps in many subdivisions will be negatively affected and the homeowners will not be able to launch their boats to enjoy the lake as well as having an adverse effect on their property values.

Many businesses on the lake would suffer from the problem of not being able to offer boat launches to their customers especially when the lake levels drop an additional two or three feet as it normally does due to lack of rain and evaporation in the summer. The impact to recreational boating and the businesses that derive their income from those boaters would be extreme also because of the dangers to boaters on the lake lowering of the water would cause.

As far as flooding downstream and the imaginary effect lowering the lake level might have on that scenario let me point out once more that if you live on a creek, river, or bayou you are going to flood just as sure as a house on the beach is going to get blown away by a hurricane, it is just a matter of when.

During Hurricane Harvey the level of the lake got to 206.25 feet and the maximum level that can be contained within the dam is 207 feet; the top of the dam is 212 feet when the water would start to run over and destroy the dam. Those people on the San Jacinto River, Spring Creek, and Cypress Creek were going to flood no matter what the SJRA did. Those areas have flooded for forty years that I can personally attest to and just because some land developer builds houses in the bottoms doesn’t mean they are going to stop flooding. Fact, if you mess with Mother Nature she will come back to bite you and the arrogance and greed of man has no influence on flood water.

Another point concerning man’s effect on flooding downstream I offer a fact: “Mature trees can consume up to 15 gallons of water per hour on a hot day.” That is 360 gallons a day per tree out of the flood possibility, but let’s ignore that and keep clear cutting the jungles of East Texas instead of working with the blessings of trees and then continue crying about flooding downstream. May God have mercy on us!