Why Lake Houston's water level is being lowered

HOUSTON – The water level at Lake Houston is being reduced ahead of anticipated heavy rain this week, and it will be kept at that lower level moving forward, officials announced Tuesday.

A line of strong storms is expected to move through Southeast Texas on Wednesday. The forecast calls for as much as 4 inches of rain in some locations.

Houston city leaders announced that spillway gates were opened Monday night to help lower the lake’s water level from 42.5 feet to 40 feet in advance of the rainfall. Water levels should reach 40 feet by Wednesday evening, officials said.

Officials said that even after Wednesday’s rain, the gates will be adjusted to maintain a water level of 40 feet during the spring and through hurricane season, while they wait for dredging of the lake and the river that feeds to occur.

Houston City Councilman Dave Martin, who represents the Lake Houston area, said that the new level should help address the immediate flooding concerns of towns surrounding the lake, including Kingwood, Humble, Atascocita and Huffman.

Martin said Houston officials will work with other water partners in the area to monitor siltation, water demand, weather patterns and other mitigation activities.

Houston leaders are also working with county and state leaders to speed up the process of dredging the lake and improve the flood warning system in the area, Martin said.

Editor's note: City officials later clarified that the change in water level is not permanent. The above story has been adjusted to reflect the clarification.

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