Residents along Guadalupe River angry over plan to drain lakes

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Homeowners along the Guadalupe River have found their lakefront views disappearing, as the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, owner of dams that created reservoirs along that waterway, have ordered the lakes to be drained.

The authority says the dams are antiquated and unsafe, and there is not enough money to fix them, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

Wood and Dunlap lakes have already disappeared after spill gates suddenly collapsed in recent years, and now GBRA wants to drain the McQueeney, Placid, Meadows and Gonzales lakes.

Local residents and businesses took their fight to the courts, getting a temporary injunction last month to stop the draining. The lakes are closed to all activity now and a trial on the case will be held in October 2020.

Property owners told the Express-News they are furious about not having a say in a decision that is important to their lives, pointing out that GBRA only told them in August of its plans to drain the lakes in September.

Edward Rose, 89, told the newspaper his family has owned property around Lake McQueeney since the 1930s and he has been visiting the reservoir since he was 5 years old. 

He said the group Friends of Lake McQueeney has begun talks with the GBRA on a way to pay for the renovation of the dam.

“They need to solve the problem, that’s for sure. There are people up here who literally have millions of dollars invested in houses,” Rose told the newspaper. “My neighbor, this past year, he’d torn down his old boathouse and spent $100,000 building a new boathouse. And now what does he got? Nothing.”

The San Marcos Corridor News reported Monday that residents around Lake Dunlap will vote next year on the creation of a property tax and a taxing district for the purpose of rebuilding the spill gates that failed in May and caused the lake to drain.

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