Residents, Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority officials discuss future of Lake Dunlap

By Japhanie Gray - Reporter

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas - Cheers of optimism came from hundreds of residents who live along Lake Dunlap during a town hall meeting in New Braunfels on Wednesday to address last month's major spill gate failure.

Several concerns were addressed, including why the spill gate failed.

In 2016, there was a similar spill gate failure that dried up Lake Wood. The suspected cause of the failure was the deteriorating steel construction of the dams, which were built in the 1920s.

Another major concern is the funding for the replacement, which is expected to cost $15 million to $35 million per dam replacement.

There are three spill gates at Lake Dunlap alone. There are a total of 15 spill gates on six hydroelectric dams in the area the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority covers. 

The construction work is expected to take about 28 months, and that does not include the design stage. Another major concern that could not be fully addressed at the meeting was what will happen to property values.

"My husband and I are both 71 years old, and I am concerned that the dam isn't going to get fixed and the lake doesn't come back to (the) level before. We are in a position before we are forced to sell at a much lower value,” said a resident named Jane.

The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority and the Preserve Lake Dunlap Association provided residents with a clear but challenging picture of financial obstacles and design setbacks that may be in store for Lake Dunlap’s restoration.

“We recognize the value these lakes bring to the community, and we are fully committed to finding a solution and working with them,” said Patty Gonzales, spokesperson for the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority.

Though some questions couldn't be answered during the meeting, residents said they are happy that officials are being transparent.

Updates on the project will be posted on the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority website.

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