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Amid lawsuit, Sunset Advisory Commission review cites problems within GBRA

Results of a state review of GBRA released a month after dam collapse

A state review of the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority identified problems related to what it said was poor management of the agency’s aging infrastructure.

The results of the Sunset Advisory Commission review were released in June, one month after part of a dam collapsed on Lake Dunlap, which was caught on camera.

The report states the following: “The GBRA has not implemented a comprehensive asset management process to ensure timely repair and replacement of its significant utility assets, leading to failed infrastructure and potential service disruptions for its customers."

The Sunset review also noted that “some of the authority's infrastructure is failing, either in critical condition or beyond repair."

Following the dam failure on Lake Dunlap, the GBRA decided to drain Lake Gonzales, Meadow Lake, Lake Placid and Lake McQueeney over safety concerns that dams could fail on those lakes, too.

There’s also uncertainty about how the GBRA would be able to pay for any possible repairs.

The draining is set for Monday.

CONTINUING COVERAGE:

Lawsuits filed to prevent draining of GBRA lakes   

Future property values muddy ahead of GBRA lake drainages

The dams needed replacing 15 years ago. Now Texas will drain 4 lakes instead — causing other issues.

Other findings in the report include “GRBA’s procurement process and contracting efforts lack coordination and best practices needed to ensure adequate expertise and best value.”

In 2015, the state Legislature put 18 river authorities in Texas under Sunset review.

The Sunset report, which focuses on the GBRA, also scrutinized the Red River Authority and Nueces River Authority.

It found that, in general, “River authorities lack certain good government standards that would enhance transparency, accountability, and compliance with state law” and that “river authorities have historically received little state oversight.”

The Sunset Commission made several recommendations to fix the issues it found within the GBRA.

The GBRA released the following statement:

“The current Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority management team, with the support of the board of directors, immediately identified similar issues to those outlined in the Sunset report in 2016, and agrees with the issues and recommendations. Under the direction of General Manager Kevin Patteson, staff promptly began to centralize the asset management system, move toward alignment with best practices in procurement, and reevaluate its relationship with associated nonprofits. The Sunset recommendations have been adopted, and improvements continue to be implemented to ensure GBRA continues to follow good government standards.”

The Sunset report also states that "addressing the past is not enough, especially as the GBRA is working to quench the thirst of the basin's growing population along the I-35 corridor."

On Wednesday, a judge will hear two lawsuits filed against the GBRA on behalf of nearly 300 people who want to stop the river authority from draining the lakes.


About the Author:

Myra Arthur

It has been Myra's long-time goal to anchor and report in her hometown, and being able to do that as part of the KSAT 12 News team is a real dream come true. San Antonio is home for Myra. She graduated from high school in the Alamo City and went on to earn a journalism degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.