GUADALUPE COUNTY, Texas - The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority will test a newly installed alert system at McQueeney Dam on Sunday at noon.
A speaker mounted on the hydroelectric plant building at the dam will broadcast several horn blasts approximately 10 to 15 seconds apart, according to GBRA's communications manager.
The new system will allow officials to activate an alert in less than a minute from the control room of the GBRA office in Seguin. It was installed following the spillgate failure at the Lake Dunlap Dam in May. When the dam failed, water rushed out of the lake at a rate of 11,000 cubic feet per second.
A similar incident happened at Lake Wood, west of Gonzales, in 2016.
The new alert system can be triggered remotely from GBRA's control room to warn recreationalists and others downstream if an unscheduled release of water occurs.
In May, the GBRA created restricted zones to limit access near McQueeney Dam. But GBRA officials said that, due to continued recreational activties occuring within the restricted zone, the river authority will be placing additional buoys at the Highway 78 Bridge on Lake Placid to prevent watercraft from going upstream. There will also be additional signage warning swimmers of the risks within the restricted zone.
GBRA officials said spillgates at all of the aging dams in the area need to be replaced with a more modern gate system, but they currently lack the funds for the projects.
Video of spillgate failure at Lake Dunlap:
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