Partial dam failure causes Lake Dunlap water level to drop dramatically

Rushing water downstream poses danger to recreational items

By Mariah Medina - Digital Journalist, Stephanie Serna - Reporter

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas - A partial dam failure Tuesday at Lake Dunlap caused the water levels to drop dramatically and sent water rushing downstream.

Watch exact moment of partial dam failure at Lake Dunlap

According to a post on the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority Facebook page, the failure occurred around 8 a.m. 

People were told to take emergency precautions due to the potentially hazardous flow of water.

Agency officials said that passing river flows were running at 11,000 cubic feet per second.

Individuals with property and boats in the area were told to secure their items amid the rapid water flow.

"We are asking people downstream to secure their recreational items, such as boats," said Patty Gonzales, GBRA communications manager. "We are also asking people to exercise caution in the water because currents could be strong."

Kelly Salinas, a resident along the lake, said he and his neighbors were a little disheartened at the sight of the lake Tuesday afternoon.

"Their reaction is a little sad," Salinas said. "The holiday is right around the corner. Everyone was going to enjoy the park, and with the way the lake is now, it's not going to happen."

Salinas said by Tuesday afternoon, the lake had dropped about 7 feet.

The dam is 91 years old. Engineers are currently working on a spillgate design for the dam and five others in the district, but that comes with a hefty price tag.

"Those designs are not yet ready," Gonzales said. "But we do anticipate that the replacement of any spillgate would be upwards of tens of millions of dollars for each individually."

Gonzales said there was a similar incident upstream of Gonzalez about three years ago and that spillgate has not yet been repaired. 

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