High-Risk Dams On Guadalupe River Lakes Threaten Area Residents, Businesses
Ninety-year-old infrastructure that created Guadalupe County's six lakes is in dire need of repair and poses a significant safety risk. Four dams are at a high risk of collapse and two other spill gates have failed already.
Officials have restricted use of the lakes and are considering draining them completely, which would affect residents and businesses nearby.
The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority doesn't have nearly enough in its coffers to fund the necessary repairs. Replacing the dams would take 20 years and cost an estimated $180 million.
A second spill gate collapse in May turned Lake Dunlap into a desolate muddy water bed and area residents fear it will never be fully restored. At-risk dams also threaten Lake Placid and Lake McQueeney.
Who's in charge of testing the integrity of dams in Texas? How are they inspected and monitored? What happens in an emergency situation when a dam breaks?
What are other funding solutions to fix this aging infrastructure? What would be the area economic impact of draining the lakes? How concerned should area residents be for their safety?
- Warren Samuelson, dam safety program director for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
- Josh Baugh, covers environmental issues for the San Antonio Express-News
- Lindsey Gillum, member of the Friends of Lake McQueeney group of area property and business owners
- Ralph Wurbs, senior professor in the Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Texas A&M University
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*This interview was recorded on Thursday, July 25.