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San Antonio

Lake Dunlap Association Campaigning For Water Distirct

Steve Short | Texas Public Radio

The Preserve Lake Dunlap Association is campaigning for the creation of a special taxing district to restore the waterway following a devastating floodgate failure.  

The president of the association, J. Harmon, hopes most of the 500 property owners on the lake southeast of New Braunfels will support the creation of a new taxing district to pay for the repairs and maintain the floodgate.

He said property values were devastated following a floodgate failure on the Guadalupe River six weeks ago that drained the lake.

“We’ve got a failed dam down here with $1 billion worth of property on it and everybody’s taken a 50% hit on their value,” Harmon said.

Harmon said homeowners’ water wells are drying up too.

“They’re going to town and buying water in tanks in the bed of their trucks to just have drinking water and bathing and able to wash their dishes,” he said.

He said homes and docks remain far away from the waterline in what is now the Guadalupe River flowing through the old lakebed. He said grass has grown over much of what used to be lake bottom.

The proposed district requires approval from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, according to the group’s website.

The Guadalupe River Authority has shown support for the creation of a taxing water district to raise revenue to replace the floodgate as one of the best options available since its own revenue stream is tight. 

Past estimates from the GBRA placed replacement costs in the millions of dollars.

Harmon stressed if such a water district comes to pass, it would only raise the property taxes of those on the lakeshore. 

GBRA spokeswoman Patty Gonzales explained the authority was designing new gates to replace the very old gates on the six dams they oversee on the river when the one at Dunlap gave way.

In a previous interview in May with Texas Public Radio, she said such a failure was not unprecedented. Gonzales said three years ago another gate of similar age and design failed at the Lake Wood Reservoir near the town of Gonzales.

“All of these dams were completed between 1928 and 1931,” she said. 

Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at Brian@TPR.org and on Twitter at @TPRBrian.