Residents hopeful but uncertain for future of Lake McQueeney
Hundreds gathered at the Lake Breeze Ski Lodge at Lake McQueeney Saturday for what could be one of the last water-skiing shows in the lake's history. McQueeney and three other lakes controlled by the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority are set to largely disappear, unless two lawsuits by property owners are successful in preventing their planned drainage. Preceded by a jet flyover, the Lake McQueeney Ski Bees show offered an opportunity for nervous residents to potentially say "good bye" to their lake with a splash. The GBRA had planned to begin draining Lake McQueeney, Lake Placid, Meadow Lake and Lake Gonzales one-by-one beginning Monday, citing safety concerns over their aging dams. Many in the crowd watching the Ski Bees perform were hopeful, even confident, that a planned drainage would somehow be averted, but they were still ready to go out with a splash.
Residents near GBRA lakes brace for drainage
McQueeney, along with Lake Gonzales, Meadow Lake and Lake Placid are scheduled to be drained one-by-one beginning September 16. It expects to have the lakes drained by the end of September, leaving Belton and residents of others just a handful of weekends left to enjoy their lakes. "It is hard to imagine, but unfortunately it looks like it is the reality," said Lake Placid resident Grant McFarland. With the question of how to fund that still up in the air, it's anyone's guess how long the lakes will stay drained. So, with an uncertain future ahead of them, residents are taking some of their last boat rides and taking in some final memories of their lakes.
No decision yet as GBRA considers draining 4 lakes for safety
"There's a lot of people whose lives depend on the water being in the lake," Thomas Belton, co-owner of a water skiing school on Lake McQueeney, told the board. But following spill gate failures at two of its dams, Lake Wood in 2016 and Lake Dunlap in May, the GBRA sees danger, too. Four more lakes along the Guadalupe River Lake McQueeney, Lake Placid, Meadow Lake and Lake Gonzales are held back with similar hydroelectric dams that were built in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Citing public safety, the GBRA is considering draining the four remaining lakes by up to 12 feet, though the GBRA says a final decision hasn't been made. We have to mitigate the safety concerns," GBRA general manager Kevin Patteson told reporters.