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Burnet County requests LCRA again lower Lake LBJ

Burnet County Judge James Oakley

Burnet County Judge James Oakley weighed in on an agenda item before the Commissioners Court on August 27. Commissioners voted to send a letter to the Lower Colorado River Authority requesting the agency lower Lake LBJ again this winter. While the LCRA lowered the lake this past winter after the October 2018 flood, some residents say they need another drawdown to address remaining flood-related issues. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton


At the request of residents, Burnet County commissioners are sending a letter to the Lower Colorado River Authority asking the agency to consider lowering Lake LBJ again this coming winter, if conditions allow for it.

Burnet County Judge James Oakley pointed out that the county can only make the request; the decision rests with the LCRA.

The matter came before the Commissioners Court during its August 27 meeting after some residents along Lake LBJ asked the county to request that LCRA lower the lake. The LCRA lowered Lake LBJ and Lake Marble Falls in January for several weeks in response to the historic October 2018 flooding. Lake LBJ was lowered about 4 feet, while Lake Marble Falls was lowered about 7 feet.

Jim Wade, who has a home on Lake LBJ, told commissioners that during the previous drawdown, he and many nearby homeowners were focused on cleaning and repairing their homes after the flood, not necessarily on fixing docks or removing debris from the lake.

“We need to be able to get in there and shore stuff up,” Wade said. “It’s a pretty bad situation. I appreciate any help.”

During the January drawdown, Wade estimated he pulled about 30,000 pounds of debris from the lake behind his home but that there is likely much more left in the water. He added that he brought in a crane from San Antonio to do the work but noted many of the affected homeowners don’t have that option.

The commissioners empathized with Wade and the other homeowners.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Jim Luther Jr. agreed that during the drawdown earlier this year, many of the residents were really trying to clean and fix their homes.

“… Up and down the lake, people were focused on their homes, not cleaning up the lake,” Luther said.

The commissioners acknowledged that even if the LCRA entertains the idea of another Lake LBJ drawdown this winter, much depends on lake levels and inflows. Oakley pointed out that the LCRA takes hydrology data and other information into account before making any decisions. One of those things, Oakley said, is how full Lake Buchanan would be during the drawdown. He explained that when the LCRA refills Lake LBJ, the agency will likely draw water from Lake Buchanan.

The commissioners approved letting Oakley draft a letter to send to the LCRA.

5 thoughts on “Burnet County requests LCRA again lower Lake LBJ

  1. Nothing in life is free Bobdog, it looked like a disaster zone when they lowered it. Freedom was lost.
    We are still a shallow river unlike your deep lake.

    No more Lowering of Lake Marble Falls per LCRA.
    We have a spillway, so it will go over.
    All our docks are fixed on the lake.
    No more muddy lake winters, that was hideous on our little river lake.

    Did you know we have a spillway? Yeah, no lowering Lake Marble Falls.
    It will be a slow release over our spillway. Buchanan is an ocean so it won’t make much
    of a difference, LBJ has to stay level per LCRA. If not LBJ is going to be a mess for a while and very hazardous.

  2. We are doing fine here at Lake Marble Falls. No more dropping our lake. The LCRA will let the water flow over
    our spillway. Not even necessary with our spillway and we don’t need it or want it lowered for another ugly year of mud.
    Our docks our fixed and all good!
    Sorry we have a spillway and Lake Marble Falls is not going to be lowered. – LCRA

  3. Maybe this time the LCRA can use their head and lower the DOWNSTREAM lakes first, and then work their way upstream. For example, if you lower Lake Marble Falls first, then lower LBJ, the lowering of Lake LBJ refills Lake Marble Falls. This makes maintenance on Lake Marble Falls “free” in terms of water cost.

  4. As a resident on Lake Buchanan, we are very concerned with dropping water levels affecting our water wells. We struggled through the 8 year drought and don’t believe our drinking water should be compromised for boat dock repairs. Since the flooding our lake levels have continued to drop to accommodate LCRA’s maintenance demands as well as mother nature’s demands. We understand that another drought is very possible and LCRA will carefully consider all residents’ needs. But please do not rob Peter to pay Paul.

  5. Great to see everyone coming together on this and good work by our elected officials.

    I’m not an expert but a drawdown of the lake might also help scrape away a lot of the algae/seaweed bloom that has hit the lake again from the intense heat.

    Another benefit of the draw down would be the opportunity for TPW and other researchers to survey Zebra Mussel infestation. Any amount of research helps towards a solution.

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