Lake Conroe residents demand end to lake lowering

Lake Conroe residents wore "Stop the Drop" shirts at the Dec. 19 SJRA meeting. (Eva Vigh, Community Impact Newspaper)
Lake Conroe residents wore "Stop the Drop" shirts at the Dec. 19 SJRA meeting. (Eva Vigh, Community Impact Newspaper)

Lake Conroe residents wore "Stop the Drop" shirts at the Dec. 19 SJRA meeting. (Eva Vigh, Community Impact Newspaper)

Image description
Owen Parker, president of Harris County Municipal Utility District 109 in Atascocita, faces Lake Conroe residents as he urges them to consider flooding downstream. Parker was booed by many in attendance. (Eva Vigh, Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
SJRA board members listen to public comments. (Eva Vigh, Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
A Lake Conroe resident urges the board to stop the lake lowering. (Eva Vigh, Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Lake levels on Nov. 27 were lower than normal. (Eva Vigh, Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Lake levels on Nov. 27 were lower than normal. (Eva Vigh, Community Impact Newspaper)
Donning red T-shirts that read “Stop the Drop,” Lake Conroe residents gathered in full force at a Dec. 12 San Jacinto River Authority board meeting.

The residents were there to urge SJRA board members to vote against the seasonal lake lowering–a strategy that is meant to mitigate flooding for residents downstream of Lake Conroe, including Kingwood, but lake residents said hurts their property values and livelihood.

The SJRA board of directors will consider renewing the current flood mitigation strategy of temporarily lowering Lake Conroe 1 foot in the fall and 2 feet in the spring, according to a Dec. 12 SJRA news release.

After Hurricane Harvey in August 2017, the SJRA was called upon by the state to consider temporary lake lowering as a flood mitigation strategy. The board will vote to renew the strategy Feb. 27.

According to the SJRA, the strategy is reviewed annually and is intended to provide a temporary flood mitigation benefit until more permanent mitigation strategies, such as dredging of the lower West Fork of the San Jacinto River, are completed.

The seasonal lowering results in lower peak levels during storms and lower release rates from the date, essentially by creating additional storage space to capture rainfall, according to the SJRA. Two 2018 engineering reports showing the benefits of the strategy are available on the SRJA’s website.

However, Lake Conroe residents questioned the scientific evidence, saying it is likely areas downstream, including Kingwood, would flood regardless of Lake Conroe.

“[In a September storm, Lake] Conroe ... had no release, yet Kingwood flooded again,” said Rich Cutler, the director of the Lake Conroe Association, drawing applause from those in attendance.

Residents said they are losing patience with the “temporary” strategy, which they said has resulted in damage to their boats or makes it difficult or impossible to access the lake from their boat launch. Residents said they are paying high property taxes for their homes—which they worked hard to afford—and want to be able to enjoy the lake.

Meanwhile, several downstream residents urged Lake Conroe residents to consider the effects not lowering the lake could have on their downstream properties and the costs to rebuild a flooded home.

Owen Parker, the president of Harris County Municipal Utility District 109 in Atascocita, commended the board for its flood mitigation efforts and urged them to vote "yes" to lake lowering in February.

“We appreciate your policy; it has been a responsible one,” Parker said. “I’m asking you guys to maintain that responsible policy.”

Because the lake lowering was not an item on the agenda, the SJRA board of directors did not respond to comments or questions from the public.

The SJRA will hold its next board meetings Jan. 23 and Feb. 27 at 8 a.m. at its headquarters, located at 1577 Dam Site Road.

This story is a recap of the Dec. 12 SJRA meeting. Community Impact Newspaper will continue providing more in-depth coverage of this topic.
By Eva Vigh

Eva Vigh joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2018 as a reporter for Spring and Klein. Prior to this position, she covered upstream oil and gas news for a drilling contractors' association.


Feral hogs, seen here in neighboring Harris County, have been reported as a nuisance in parts of Montgomery County, including Conroe. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
City of Conroe to launch feral hog trapping program

Several residents pleaded with city officials to allow them to continue using electric fences to protect their property.

pipeline packaging conroe
Pipeline Packaging now open in Conroe

Pipeline Packaging's services range from custom assembly and decorating to engineering and testing.

Houston-area hospitals to close include the Tomball, Spring, Heights and Bay Area locations of Kindred Hospital, according to the statement. (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)
Kindred Healthcare to close 6 Houston, Dallas locations

Four Houston-area locations of Kindred Hospital will close by March 17.

montgomery high school storage building
Montgomery High School to convert storage unit into indoor baseball, softball batting cages

“It’s going to be a very functional facility that [our athletes] could go to every day,” MISD Athletics Director Clint Heard said.

SJRA Lake Conroe lowering Jan. 21
San Jacinto River Authority presents facts on lake lowering, listens to concerns from Lake Conroe, Lake Houston residents

Hundreds of residents attended to voiced their opinions on the temporary seasonal lowering;

The crawfish seller has no storefront but offers pickups in Conroe. (Courtesy 3C's Crawfish)
3C's Crawfish now open in Conroe

The business sells crawfish from Louisiana.

The spa held a soft opening Jan. 10. (Courtesy Southern Secrets Med Spa)
Southern Secrets Med Spa now open in Conroe

The spa offers various aesthetic and functional medicine procedures, in addition to men's and women's sexual wellness.

Conroe ISD board President Datren Williams listens to a public comment. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
Conroe ISD approves Stockton rezoning, full-day pre-K, calendar for 2020-21 school year

Assistant Superintendent Of Elementary Education Debbie Phillips said the district received five applications and ultimately decided it could open for full-day pre-K in the 2020-21 school year without private partners.

Woodforest National Bank is coming to the Woodforest development. (Rendering courtesy Total PR)
Woodforest National Bank to open in Woodforest

The bank will offer a range of banking services for consumer and commercial customers and will also include Woodforest Wealth Strategies.

J.J. Hollie, The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce president (center) is flanked by Montgomery County officials, representatives and community members at the dedication of a portion of I-45 on Jan. 17. (Vanessa Holt/Community Impact Newspaper)
Legislators, community members gather to dedicate portion of I-45 to The Woodlands founder George P. Mitchell

A portion of I-45 in Montgomery County is now designated the George P. Mitchell Memorial Highway in honor of the local entrepreneur who founded The Woodlands in 1974.

Chauncy Glover (center) accepts an award from Ann and T.J. Wilkerson. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
Montgomery celebrates the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Organized by local nonprofit Dr. MLK Jr. Community Improvement Organization, the seventh annual Community Celebration featured various performers, including the Lake Creek High School choir, singer Sister Katherine Houston and the Praise Dancers.

Check out Conroe, Montgomery's December real estate market

The data above is provided by Shari Mattern, Better Homes and Gardens Gary …

Back to top