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
EDITOR 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.