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Harris and Montgomery counties are investigating the possibility of lowering lake levels
The counties of Harris and Montgomery, Texas, voted to partner in a flood control study of the San Jacinto River watershed. The counties will petition the Texas Water Development Board for a grant. The study will examine the possibility of lowering water levels in Lake Conroe and Lake Houston as well as potentially dredging Lake Houston.
The study seeks to mitigate future flooding such as one instance that occurred during Hurricane Harvey where the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) feared failure of the Lake Conroe dam and, consequently, released 106 billion gal of water into the river. The rush of water released from the dam flooded homes and businesses in the northern Houston neighborhood of Kingwood.
Houston city Councilman Dave Martin, who represents Kingwood, argues that lower lake levels would prevent such an influx of water like occurred during the SJRA release. However, according to the Houston Chronicle, SJRA warns that lowered lake levels will also mean lower water supplies for Houston, which uses Lake Houston as the primary water source. The regional partnership and new study will investigate the plausibility of these changes and more efficient flood management practices.