The Lake McQueeney Dam is one of six hydroelectric dams managed by the Guadalupe Blanco River Authority.

Since the loss of Lake Dunlap earlier in the year, people who lived along the rest of the hydroelectric lakes along the Guadalupe River have held their breath. On Thursday morning, the GBRA gave them the punch in the stomach they were dreading.

The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority announced Thursday morning that it would begin a systematic drawdown of its remaining lakes on Sept. 16 after engineering assessments found it was the only way to minimize risks associated with its aging hydroelectric dam system.  

“Safety is our top priority. We understand this is an unpopular decision, but one that we feel is unavoidable given the dangers associated with these dams,” said GBRA General Manager and CEO Kevin Patteson. “GBRA is committed to working closely with the lake associations and the community to mitigate the impact of this difficult, but necessary decision.”

GBRA said is has coordinated with Texas Parks and Wildlife to come up with a "dewatering plan" designed to minimize impacts to the environment.

It will begin with the southern-most lake, Lake Gonzales and continue upstream to Meadow Lake, Lake Placid and Lake McQueeney. Each lake is expected to take three days with all lakes drained by the end of September.

GBRA said it is making efforts to communicate directly with affected property owners providing advanced written notice by mail and additional written communications with specific information about the drawdown before it begins.

The agency said the dams that form the recreational lakes along the river have outlived their useful life at more than 90 years old and that over the years it has added safety measures with signs, buoys and restricted zones around the dams to warn people. 

"Despite these efforts, monitoring systems continue to capture people within the restricted areas close to — and in some instances on top of — the dams, intensifying public safety concerns," GBRA said.

GBRA said that despite regular maintenance — including significant repairs made after the floods of 1998 and 2002 — assessment indicated the original structural steel components at each of the dams were compromised. 

"Ensuring the long-term sustainability of the dams is a community endeavor. GBRA is working in partnership with the Guadalupe Valley Lakes lake associations and affected residents, as well as city and county officials, to determine the best course of action for identifying, funding and completing the necessary replacement of the dams," the agency said "A dedicated website,, has been established to keep the community updated of this evolving situation and provide contact information for key stakeholders."

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(12) comments


I wonder how this affects those of us In the area above the Power Plant. (Guadalupe River Drive and River Oak Drive along with Burges St. ). Is the dam at the Power Plant also a concern?


You are Ok that is a static dam and should have concern


I believe Guadalupe county will have detrimental, lasting effects, of this decision. This includes Dunlap, our quaint McQueeney, Seguin and, unfortunately, levels in Chaparral and Starke Park Dam. I hope I am wrong but I think GBRA is in Full CYA mode!


Lake McQueeney (and all of these lakes) are special places for so many generations of families. We chose to be on Lake McQueeney to escape the craziness of Austin and because of it’s charm. Where else can you see American Flag bearing water ski shows performed by kids (The Ski Bees) while listening to the Star Spangled Banner being sung by a bright eyed 10 year old? No where ...except the Ski Breeze Lodge whose very existence is now threatened by GBRA’s negligence in properly maintaining these dams. I hope you enjoy your $7 million dollar office building. Maybe we can watch videos of the ski shows in your conference room. Shame on you GBRA. I hope Governor Abbott or George Strait come to the rescue because we cannot count on GBRA. Please Help!


The drawing down of the remaining lakes is a foreboding indicator of the future of the GBRA hydroelectric system. Is that system being allowed to deteriorate further until it no longer exists, or will it alternatively be upgraded to increase its economic contribution? If the drawing down of the remaining lakes is a preparatory step to increasing the capacity to generate electrical energy, that needs to be communicated to calm the fears of those being negatively affected.


Anyone giving any consideration to the economic impact to the Counties affected?

This is disgusting. What State agency is accountable for this mess. Assuming GBRA had a budget to maintain subject dams over the lifetime of their existence. Where’d the money go? Is the LCRA next? Sounds like what happens in the NE.



I personally think the county does owe us. Years of paying property taxes at values base on water front property, which is my choice to have so I pay the price for my family to enjoy the lake. Now we won’t have that luxury that we have been paying for. My thought now or concern is what price will I pay now? If values are base on water front , with out that now will my property taxes be lower. I will be the first person at Guadalupe county appraisal district come next year to protest my property taxes base on no more water front property. Which I personally suggest every one get ready to do the same. So yes the county should do their part too. Before May . I don’t get a discount because my lake house is not my homestead. Therefor my taxes are high. With no water front my investment is worthless.


AMEN MB! I talked to the appraisal district the day this happened and they said they are hiring contractors to go out and reassess property values for next year. I personally think we should have a adjustment for the 3 months left of this year too.... but thats not going to happen because our money has already been spent. Where else can you just keep money people paid and then not deliver on what they paid for...for three months? Gather up your comps early....if there ARE any comps because I don’think we are going to see many sales after the lakes are gone so I am gathering comps of non waterfront non lake access houses ....since that what we will be.

No matter what number they give me, I’ll be right behind you in line. I’ll bring the coffee :)


Could be a great Texas Monthly investigation on exactly what the River Authorities do (or don’t) for this great adopted State of mine?

I’m sickened by this and feel for those impacted. I’ve seen what “other” River Authorities DO for Lake Buchanan...


Most of you need to get over yourselves. You would rather things be unsafe than to be inconvienced. Boohoo my vacation home wont have a lake view for a while. You would rather let it ride at the risk of the people down stream than to have your view inconvienced. unless you were planning to sell your property this has no effect on your investment. Think about something other than yourself you pretentious curmudgeons.


No one that I have met in the lake areas are “Pretentious Curmudgeons” Let me try to explain a little better....It goes way beyond property values of a few. This is happening because GBRA failed to maintain the dams even after they were warned. They were under monitoring by The Sunset Advisory Committee because of their mis management of assets. The committee issued a report warning them of infrastructure problems and they failed to act. This is going to have a lasting, possibly irreparable damage to the environment, small businesses, and entire communities not just lake homes.The loss of property values means a big loss of tex revenue to schools. This tax burden will be passed onto Texas tax payers...this means YOU. This means YOU will be paying for GBRA mistakes. It is also not going to be a little while. There IS NO PLAN. And it is going to be years before the lakes return, if ever. The whole point is there really isn’y a danger to people downstream unless all the spill gates fail as the same time which would be a statistical anomaly. The danger GBRA is using is not based on flooding but that people are ignoring the posted signs and going too close to the dam. If the spill gates break and someone is there kayaking where they aren't supposed to be they will be in danger. DUH. We cant make this huge decision based on a few people not heeding the warnings to stay away from dam. EX Just because a few dum-dumbs drink and drive does not mean we take away cars. Im sorry you don't understand the impact of ALL the people and you seem so angry. Do you think being so nasty is actually going to get your opinion across? You just came across angry and you I’m guessing you aren't being directly impacted by this or you might understand a little better. Thanks for reminding us that there are very nasty people in the world. God Bless. Have a Nice Day.


A person who scrimped and saved just like you, not a “Pretentious Curmudgeon”.


I think that those who understand the problem of water availability in Texas would benefit from knowing how and why the GBRA was established in 1933. The GBRA was established by the Texas Legislature to address that specific problem. Lakes, like aquifers, are water gathering and storage devices, and dams manage content issues. It is highly unlikely that these lakes will remain unfilled or that the dams will not be repaired. Both directly relate to the mission of that agency. There is more information about the GBRA; the legislation, mission, and management on line.

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