The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, the acting authority for the lakes, and plaintiffs representing multiple lake communities reached a settlement Sept. 16 to prevent the dewatering of the four remaining lakes for a 12-month period.
The lawsuit stemmed from a GBRA decision to drain the four lakes after dams at two of the six Guadalupe Valley Lakes—Lake Wood and Lake Dunlap—failed in recent years.
Details of the settlement include the appointment of a panel of three experts to decide if any areas of the remaining lakes are still safe for recreational activity. The expert panel will have 30 days to make their decision, with an option to extend the timeline to 60 days.
“This temporary injunction will allow all parties to continue to work together to identify a solution and funding for the necessary replacement of the dams,” GBRA said in a statement following the ruling. “While GBRA will work closely with law enforcement officials to enforce activity restrictions, is of the utmost importance that the community adhere to the limitations and continue to respect all restrictions until a long-term solution can be reached.”
The GBRA and plaintiffs will choose one expert apiece. A third, mutually-agreed-upon expert will complete the panel.
The four remaining Guadalupe Valley Lakes will be closed beginning Sept. 19 while the panel comes to a decision. Law enforcement patrols will be active on each lake to enforce restrictions.
“The dams forming the Guadalupe Valley Lakes remain in dire need of replacement, having surpassed their useful life at more than 90 years old,” GBRA said. “The settlement in the Guadalupe Valley Lakes litigation helps the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority achieve its immediate priority of ensuring the safety of those on and around the lakes while simultaneously continuing to work collaboratively with key stakeholders to preserve their long-term sustainability.”