SEGUIN, Texas – A pair of lawsuits filed Thursday on behalf of about 300 people aim to prevent the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority from draining four lakes.
The plaintiffs are people who own lake properties.
The lawsuit against GBRA claims the water authority has failed to maintain the lakes and dams for nearly 60 years, and is rushing the process with false claims regarding imminent danger.
"The destruction and dereliction of the six dams/levees at issue and the dewatering of the remaining four reservoirs not only will severely and irreparably damage the plaintiffs, but will have a tremendous economic effect on the businesses located in these counties," the lawsuit said. "Millions of dollars which are pumped into the local economy through the recreational activities and property ownership on the Guadalupe River and the millions of dollars collected by the taxing authorities will be substantially and adversely impacted."
Property owners fear the lakes could be left drained for years.
The GBRA is scheduled to deliberately drain Lake Gonzales, Meadow Lake, Lake Placid and Lake McQueeney one-by-one beginning Sept. 16 because of safety concerns over their aging hydroelectric dams. The plans follow spillgate failures at its dams at Lake Wood in 2016 and Lake Dunlap in May of this year. All six dams were completed in the late 1920s through early 1930s.
GBRA officials said residents continue to disregard warning signs and putting their lives at risk.
In a statement, GBRA officials said they "stand by its decision to move forward with the dewatering based on multiple third party engineer studies."
Kevin Patteson, general manager and CEO for GBRA, released the following statement:
“Despite increased warnings and publicity about the danger of recreating around the aging dams, we have video and photographs – taken as recently as this week - of citizens continuing to disregard warning signs and risk their lives. Alerts sound, danger signs are posted, and they continue to be ignored. GBRA stands by its decision to move forward with the dewatering based on the multiple third-party engineer studies that have deemed the aging dams as “unacceptable for continued use.” Legal actions will not prevent another spillgate failure or protect lives. GBRA continues to work diligently with the Guadalupe Valley Lake Associations and communities to find a viable solution.”