LCRA extends drawdown by three weeks through March 18



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Connie Swinney/The Highlander
Lakeside property owners and municipalities have an additional three weeks of drawdown of Lakes Marble Falls (Pictured here) and Lake LBJ, as the Lower Colorado River Authority grants a request for more time to clear away debris, dredge and repair structures.





By Connie Swinney
Staff Writer

Requests from local city leaders, citing continued flood-damage repair, prompted the Lower Colorado River Authority to extend a drawdown of Lakes Marble Falls and LBJ for three more weeks, officials said.

The initial eight-week drawdown will go through March 18 with both waterways expected to be back to normal operating range by March 22.

Starting Dec. 30, crews began lowering Lake Marble Falls to reach its 7-ft. level today and Lake LBJ to about 4 ft.

“We jointly reached the conclusion that the drawdown should be extended three weeks to allow property owners more time to complete repairs and cleanup,” Marble Falls Mayor John Packer said in an LCRA statement.
Horseshoe Bay Mayor Steve Jordan added: “The close working relationship we have with LCRA allowed us to be a participant in reaching the decision to continue the lake drawdown period.”

On Oct. 16, massive flooding which originated from the Llano River swept into the Highland Lakes causing millions of dollars in damage and temporary evacuation as well as deposited debris along lakeside properties.

As the drawdown got under way, the LCRA declined a request by Horseshoe Bay officials to lower the waterway, straddled by communities including Horseshoe Bay, Granite Shoals and Kingsland, several feet lower than the current range.

LCRA cited the Texas Department of Transportation rebuilding of the flood-swept RM 2900 bridge in Kingsland, which requires waterway barges, and the cooling requirements of the Ferguson Power Plant.

“It will be a while before waterfront property owners on the Colorado River in the Lake LBJ and Lake Marble Falls areas can recover from the October flood and adjust to changes in the river,” LCRA General Manager Phil Wilson said, in a statement. “Normally a drawdown would not last more than two months, but we have not experienced a flood of this magnitude from the Llano River since 1935.

“After talking with local officials and residents about the extent of damage to private property and amount of cleanup still needed, we determined a longer drawdown was warranted.”

LCRA officials cautioned residents to be prepared for a potential emergency refill due to “unforeseen circumstances” such as flood or utilities emergencies.

Officials say work crews should not leave equipment and tools unattended in lake beds.

Also, lakebed burn piles are prohibited.

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