History & Facts
This website was developed as a repository of facts (that are confirmed), and to gather resources that will allow us to develop a different plan forward that science supports. We need to challenge our excellent universities and colleges to develop plans that are based on computer models and can give us real time information that is openly shared with our communities. reference
If we have a reference wrong or new information develops let us know by email and we will update it. (references are in blue)
We Support the Recovery of the Kingwood communities
Hurricane Harvey caused horrific damage and flooding to the area. This was a 500 year rain event. Further flooding occurred in 2019 from tropical storm Imelda. The Lake Conroe dam water had no part in these 2019 floods. The Kingwood watershed had horrific rains and these 2019 storms added much more new silt to the Kingwood and lake Houston watershed. The initial dredging used as a reason to lower the lake is complete. reference. After tropical storm Imelda further project have developed that have nothing to do with lowering the Lake. Currently HUD is supposed to send $212 million to Texas, for recovery from Tropical Storm Imelda. ref Houston Chronicle.
Many other rivers, besides the North Fork of the San Jacinto river contribute water to this watershed. reference
Kingwood and the Lake Houston watershed had rainfalls approaching 30 to 50 inches in some areas. It has been estimated that the actual percentage of water that Kingwood received from the draining of the dam at Lake Conroe, during Hurricane Harvey, was estimated to be 10 to 15 percent of the water.
Having your home or business flooded is devastating. No one from the Lake Conroe community wishes harm or suffering to our neighbors in Kingwood. We also feel for the flooding and water damage many people in Conroe suffered, who live below the dam.
The lake community and businesses understand how difficult a battle Kingwood has had to face. Several recent Chronicle articles make reference this:
Lake Conroe History
Lake Conroe is a fairly shallow lake. It varies in depth from about 60 feet in the center of the main lake next to the dam (at full level) to less than 1 foot in many of the edges of the lake where homes and businesses are located. Many docks, restaurant docks and canals are now out of water and nonfunctional or dangerous. reference
The normal lake level is 201’ MSL (mean sea level). SJRA has a flowage easement that allows raising the lake level up to six feet over normal pool level during extreme storm events, which is a level of 207’ MSL. This gives SJRA’s reservoir operators a buffer zone within which to manage storm events. The top of the dam is at 212’ MSL, and although the water level could physically exceed 207’ for short periods of time without threatening the structural integrity of the dam, the operational protocol for the dam is designed with the water level below the 207’ MSL flowage easement. reference
The History of the Seasonal Lowering Plans Evolution
Following Hurricane Harvey everyone effected was looking for solutions and lowering Lake Conroe was proposed by the Kingwood community. They worked with Governor Abbott to appoint 2 Kingwood residents on the SJRA board. We are in favor of the residents of each community being represented on the board as long as their decisions are based on facts and science. The representation should be evenly distributed based on the geography of the district.
The first year of the plan, 2018, we had significant rainfall that refilled the lake after September, but that has not happened this year. Under the seasonal lowering plan, the SJRA reduced the lake 12 inches between March and April, and then reduced the lake 24 inches between August and September.
The current "Temporary" plan is now titled as a "Seasonal" plan. This was double the lowering amount recommended by the staff who worked at the SJRA ( non-board members).They thought that it would be prudent to start at 6 inches and then 1 foot lowering as a first step and then to reconsider the results and consequences. reference
Flooding from Tropical storm Imelda in Kingwood and below the dam in Conroe had nothing to do with release of water from Lake Conroe. The lake only rose 6 to 8 inches and could have easily handled this storm without water release at full pool level of 201-feet. Flooding of some homes occurs on lake Conroe when the water is above the 206 level. reference Most POAs recommend building new construction above 207 feet.
Value of the Water Released with the Seasonal Lowering of Lake Conroe
Harvey’s incredible rainfall (over 20 inches in the Lake Conroe watershed) caused a peak inflow of approximately 130,000 cfs, and during the event, the peak release from the dam was 79,000 cfs. Even though the dam is CAPABLE of releasing more than that amount of water, the reservoir is designed to operate so that peak releases from the dam can always remain LOWER than the peak inflows coming into the lake by temporarily allowing the water level to rise within the six foot flowage easement to minimize risk to life and property on both sides of the dam. reference
The data from the SJRA show that 10.5 million dollars to 15 million dollars of water revenue have been in lost by draining the lake in 2019. Click here for reference
This plan has been in effect for 2 years. To date 21 million dollars to 30 million dollars of water revenue have been lost forever.
The City of Houston was also given access to 2 more feet of water when the lake is seasonally lowered. The City of Houston owns a two-thirds call on water from Lake Conroe. SJRA owns one-third. When the 2-foot seasonal lowering was granted an exemption was given by the Texas Water Commission to Houston so that this loss of water would not count toward Houston's 2/3rd's water rights. This in effect allows millions of gallons of water from Lake Conroe to be given to the City of Houston without cost or consequence.
Our Challenge to The SJRA
We want an improved line of communication from the SJRA. We need several community town hall meetings where all views can be heard and openly discussed. We need the SJRA to present its data and research that support its decisions. Limiting comments to 5 and only allowing 3 minutes time at board meetings is insufficient. (We have been notified, since publishing this website, that everyone who wishes to make comment at the upcoming board meeting will have an opportunity, with a 3 minute limit).
Many emails and requests from our subscribers who have contacted the SJRA have been unanswered. We need a sense of community awareness expressed from the SJRA. The board decisions have had profound negative impacts on the environment and the business community.
You can also go online and share your input prior to the public hearing for the SJRA at and select the San Jacinto River Authority as the agency you would like to provide input about as a board as they are up for sunset review for the 2019-2021 cycle.
The original Temporary Lowering of Lake Conroe was a quick political solution and is not supported by the actual scientific conclusions that the SJRA has released. reference
This Seasonal Lowering plan has affected the appraised home values, home and business sale prices, local taxes, water access to our businesses, the fish and game population, bulkheading on the lake, and water/boater safety on the lake.
Water is a valuable resource and the River Authority places no monetary value on the water it drains from the Lake. We all know how much we pay for in water and MUD taxes. If you have a bar of gold in your home, it has value even though you may not have a buyer. The SJRA says the water has no value because it had no buyer.
Science has shown how our climate is changing, and we cannot count on an unlimited rain supply. We may also have more severe storms that will require different approaches for both our communities. reference
Unless we are proactive and develop, and research the best practices that are supported by science we will make errors again and could actually make this flooding worse. reference
We need and environmental assessment plan and a study looking at the damage this plan has done to our communities. The SJRA Board has not presented any of this data or completed any studies that have evaluated the impact that the Seasonal Lowering has had on the lake and its communities.