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Lake Conroe Lowering To Continue In Effort To Fight Flooding

The controversial plan pitted Conroe and Kingwood residents against one another.

Chris Paul/Houston Public Media

The seasonal lowering of Lake Conroe will continue, following a vote Thursday night by the San Jacinto River Authority.

After several hours of public debate, the SJRA board voted 5-1 to continue lowering water levels. A pair of public meetings on the issue drew hundreds of residents from Lake Conroe and areas downstream like Kingwood and Lake Houston, which experienced extensive flooding during Hurricane Harvey.

Special Board of Directors Meeting-Video #2

Posted by San Jacinto River Authority SJRA on Thursday, February 20, 2020

Downstream residents say lower water levels help mitigate flooding, while Lake Conroe residents argue low levels hurt property values and recreation on the lake.

The adopted plan lowers Lake Conroe once in the spring and again in the fall and is largely similar to one put forward by Houston officials.

The plan lowers levels to 200 feet above average sea level in the spring starting April 1, with recapture beginning on June 1. Fall lowering will bring the lake to 200 feet starting Aug. 1, then to 199.5 feet in September. Fall recapture begins Oct. 1.

The plan leaves room for the city of Houston, a majority owner of the lake’s water rights, to ask for additional lowering to 199 feet if a named storm is expected to enter the region within a five-day forecast.

Controversy has surrounded Lake Conroe since a temporary lowering plan began in 2018 to facilitate dredging along the West Fork of the San Jacinto River.