HOUSTON - Houston Water, San Jacinto River Authority & Coastal Water Authority have released an operations plan to lower water levels in Lake Houston and Lake Conroe in an effort to prevent flooding.
Lake Houston and Lake Conroe are important parts of the city's drinking water system. More than 4 million residents in the region rely on water provided by the city.
The city said Hurricane Harvey deposited tremendous amounts of silt in the West Fork of the San Jacinto River, physically changing the river's ability to safely pass water flows during storms.
The city and the Coastal Water Authority operate Lake Houston and the San Jacinto River Authority operates Lake Conroe.
The city and the operators have developed a temporary plan that will be in place until the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' dredging project on the lower West Fork of the San Jacinto River is complete. The project is scheduled to begin this month and may take up to three years to complete.
The city said the lakes will be operated with two different strategies.
Lake Conroe is located upstream from Lake Houston.
Lake Conroe's prereleases before storms run the risk of pushing water into Lake Houston, which is not desirable, the city said.
The San Jacinto River Authority will conduct temporary seasonal lowering of Lake Conroe, which has a normal water level of 201 feet.
April 1 – May 31: Lake Conroe will be reduced and maintained at 200 feet.
Aug. 1 – Sept. 30: Lake Conroe will be reduced and maintained at 199 feet.
After each temporary seasonal lowering, Lake Conroe will be restored to normal water level.
Lake Houston is the lowest lake on the river system and will be operated using a prerelease approach. The Coastal Water Authority will conduct prestorm releases from Lake Houston, which has a normal pool elevation of 42.5 feet.
If the National Weather Service predicts more than 3 inches of rain within the San Jacinto River basin in a 48-hour period, Lake Houston will be lowered to 41.5 feet, according to the city.
To track Lake Conroe levels, click here.
To track Lake Houston levels, click here.
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