New Braunfels | July 2023

ENVIRONMENT New $40M Lake Dunlap Dam on schedule for late July completion





own WCIDs soon after Lake Dunlap residents did. Those dams were all put into service between 1928-32. In total, six hydroelectric dams were built at that time. Zachry Construction Corp., a San-Antonio based construction com- pany, was selected as the contractor in early 2021 and was tasked with rebuilding all three spill gates while widening the existing structure by 15 feet. New concrete armoring was also installed along the existing 1,500-foot core wall. Lake Dunlap resident John Moore and others said they are excited for its long-awaited completion. “We’re ready to get all the water back and to be able to enjoy the sights and the fun,” Moore said. Although Moore said he thinks the taxation was worth it, he acknowl- edged it was frustrating. “We’ve had all these years of neglect. The dam wasn’t able to be maintained,” he said. “But then, on the other hand, to me it’s a small price to be able to have a lake in our background. I think the quick action by the PLDA and the property owners to get a solution œgured out was what made the dižerence.” Harrison said if a gate needs to be replaced or repaired in the future, the LDWCID has the ability to act as a “œnancing arm” and assist with paying for it. “We think we’re leaving the future generations a much better solution than we inherited,” Harrison said.

Four years after a spill gate failure at Lake Dunlap, the reconstruction of the dam is nearing completion. The spill gate failure emptied most of the 410-acre reservoir created by the dam on the Guadalupe River, which was built in 1928 southeast of New Braunfels. Water levels at the time were about 40 feet in the deepest parts. As of May 29, all three oodgates had been installed, and the hydraulic pressure unit, which will power the gates, is still awaiting delivery. After the dam broke, a partnership among the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, the Texas Water Develop- ment Board, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and a group of residents called the Preserve Lake Dunlap Association was formed. The PLDA managed to get a taxing district voluntarily created by area residents—the Lake Dunlap Water Control and Improvement District— on the ballot and passed, making the reconstruction possible, LDWCID President Doug Harrison said. That taxing district encompasses about 500 residences and businesses along the Guadalupe River from the Faust Street Bridge to the dam, Harrison said. Voters approved the creation of the district in November 2020. Voters who live on or around Lake McQuee- ney and Lake Placid—which were also created around the same time Lake Dunlap was as part of the Guadalupe Valley Lakes system—created their

REINFORCING THE DAM In an eort to prevent the reconstructed dam from failing again, a number of improvements were added to ensure greater longevity than the original 1928 dam provided, including: Three oodgates have been installed, and the hydraulic pressure unit, which will power the gates, is still awaiting delivery and installation. On top of rebuilding the oodgates, the new structure expands the width of the dam by 15 feet.

• A complete rebuild of the three spill gates • Widening the existing structure by 15 feet

• New concrete armoring along the entire length of the existing 1,500-foot wall Once the gates are raised—potentially on July 31—it could take three-to-four weeks for the lake to ll back up to normal levels based on current Guadalupe River ˆow rates. THE VOYAGE TO SUCCESS Four years following a spill gate failure, the reconstruction of the dam is almost complete, but the process to get there was no easy feat. 1928 The construction of the original dam is completed. 2019 May 14 The spill gate fails and mostly drains Lake Dunlap. 2019 September 21 The WCID holds a public hearing on a proposed tax rate of $0.20 per $100 valuation. 2020 Oct. 9 The Preserve Lake Dunlap Association and the GBRA reach an agreement to repair the dam. 2020 November Voters approve the creation of the WCID, and voters who live on or around Lake McQueeney and Lake Placid with aging dams in the Guadalupe Valley Lakes system overseen by the GBRA also create their own WCIDs.




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