Residents near Lake Gonzales begin to feel economic consequences of spill gate failure

Newly formed ‘South Texas Water Coalition’ plans to save future of the lakes

It’s been months since the spill gate failure at Lake Gonzales, a failure that’s essentially drained the reservoir and now people in that area say they’re starting to feel the consequences of that malfunction.

GONZALES, Texas – It’s been months since the spill gate failure at Lake Gonzales, a failure that’s essentially drained the reservoir and now people in that area say they’re starting to feel the consequences of that malfunction.

Mark Dunn is the owner of the “Gone Fishing” RV Park at Lake Gonzales. He said since the spill gate failure on Aug. 3 the only thing gone now is the water, and no water means no boat rentals and that’s less money.

“It’s a huge revenue loss because of, you know, there’s no more boating or fishing or renting of boats and a lot of people would come here for the water,” Dunn said.

Dunn said the RV park is still open and folks come out to camp and barbecue, but without the lake things just aren’t the same.

Retired Gonzales County Sheriff and State Game Warden Glenn Sachtleben has dedicated over 30 years to water safety and law enforcement and said he’s seen just how much activity was brought to the area.

“The whole thing makes me feel really sad, because this was a prime resource for recreation in the area and not just local, it drew people from hundreds of miles around,” Sachtleben said.

Residents of the area used the neighboring Lake Woods which is roughly four miles from Gonzales as an example of what could be the future for Lake Gonzales. In 2016, a similar spill gate failure led to the collapse of that lake and it has since become a lush wooded area.

Now Sachtleben said he’s convinced the loss of Lake Gonzales will be felt for years to come.

“I recognize the cost of repurposing the dam or repairing it is significant, but I think the long-term cost to the community exceeds that,” Sachtleben said.

The Gonzales and neighboring communities said their mission now is to keep their lakes alive and hope the Guadalupe Blanco River Authority will collaborate in the effort.

KSAT reached out to GBRA and was re-directed to their website, but have not received a reply regarding their plans about working with people at Lake Gonzales.


About the Authors:

Jonathan Cotto is a reporter for KSAT’s Good Morning San Antonio. He’s a bilingual award-winning news reporter and he joined KSAT in 2021. Before coming to San Antonio, Cotto was reporting along the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas. He’s a veteran of the United States Navy.