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LCRA to lower Lake LBJ for second straight year; Inks Lake drawdown also in 2020

2019 Lake LBJ drawdown

The Lower Colorado River Authority lowered Lake LBJ in early 2019 so property owners could perform maintenance. On November 19, the authority announced it would again lower the lake starting January 2, 2020. File photo

The Lower Colorado River Authority is taking the unprecedented action of lowering Lake LBJ two years in a row after Burnet County commissioners and other local leaders requested the move.

The LCRA announced November 19 that it would lower Lake LBJ, along with Inks Lake, for eight weeks in early 2020 to allow lakeside property owners to make further repairs due to issues caused by the October 2018 flood.

The drawdown will take place January 2-February 28, 2020.

The LCRA had lowered Lake LBJ, along with Lake Marble Falls, in early 2019, but in August, Burnet County requested another drawdown of LBJ after residents approached the commissioners about it. During that Commissioners Court meeting, lakeside property owners explained that many of them were focused on their homes during the previous drawdown rather than their docks or removing debris from the lake.

“LCRA normally doesn’t lower the same lake two years in a row, but we are making an exception after hearing from local officials and residents about needed repairs and maintenance resulting from the historic flooding last year,” said John Hofmann, LCRA executive vice president of water.

Inks Lake was last lowered in 2018.

During the drawdown, Lake LBJ will be lowered 4 feet, and Inks Lake will be lowered 8 feet. LCRA cannot lower Lake LBJ more than 4 feet without risking interfering with operations at the Thomas C. Ferguson Power Plant on the shores of the lake.

LBJ will be lowered a foot a day for four days and reach its fully lowered level by January 5. Inks Lake will be lowered a foot a day for eight days and reach its fully lowered level by January 9.

The refill for both lakes will begin February 24 and be complete by February 28.

Along with assisting in flood recovery, the drawdown also provides water customers and lakeside residents an opportunity to remove debris, dredge, and repair and maintain docks, retaining walls, and other shoreline property. Lowering the lakes during the cold winter months also helps curb the growth of nuisance aquatic vegetation.

A permit is not required for dock repairs on Lake LBJ or Inks Lake during the drawdown, but all work must comply with the LCRA’s Safety Standards for Residential Docks on the Highland Lakes.

Maintenance, dredging, debris removal, and repair work on existing retaining walls during the drawdown can be performed under the LCRA’s permit with the Army Corps of Engineers, but work must be registered with the LCRA before it begins. Registration forms can be found on the LCRA’s lake lowering information page. You can also pick up forms at the LCRA Western Maintenance Facility, 2643 Wirtz Dam Road in Marble Falls, from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 1:30-3 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Burning debris in the lakebed is not allowed.

Go to the LCRA’s lake lowering page for more information.