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TRA addresses concerns over water release from Lake Livingston Dam amid ongoing flooding

The Lake Livingston Dam is discharging water at 124,267 toes per second, surpassing a earlier document that was set throughout Hurricane Harvey. (Photo courtesy of Trinity River Authority)

The Trinity River Authority (TRA) holds a vital accountability in safeguarding water assets which are important for the sustenance of communities. At the guts of this endeavor lies the Lake Livingston Dam, a key part within the administration of water assets. However, it appears that there’s a misunderstanding amongst many residents concerning the first objective of the dam.

It’s essential to make clear that the Lake Livingston Dam features as a water conservation reservoir and never as a flood management reservoir. In an announcement to Bluebonnet News, Rickey Davis, a spokesperson for the Trinity River Authority, mentioned, “All we do is try to maintain a steady level of Lake Livingston. We don’t have the extra capacity to hold water in the case of floods. Our releases are determined by the amount of inflows that we have coming into the lake. Whatever that is, we match it with our release to the best of our ability.”

The actions of the TRA concerning water release have sparked immense concern and scrutiny within the wake of the ongoing flooding downstream of the dam.

Speaking on the matter, Davis emphasised the meticulous consideration given to the choices concerning the adjustment of water circulate every day, significantly throughout important flooding occasions within the space.

“Our aim is to replicate the natural flow of the river as if the lake didn’t exist,” Davis defined.

In response to questions on why the Trinity River Authority (TRA) doesn’t pre-release water from the dam forward of incoming water from the north, spokesperson Davis offered insights into the decision-making course of. According to Davis, there are two key concerns that form this method.

Firstly, the unpredictability of water influx poses a major problem. Despite forecasts indicating 3 to 4 inches of rain on Sunday and Wednesday nights, April 28 and May 1, respectively, the precise rainfall amounted to a staggering 10 to 11 inches on each events. Davis emphasised the near-impossibility of precisely predicting the precise quantity of rainfall.

Secondly, Davis highlighted the potential hazard posed to downstream communities within the occasion of pre-releasing water. Filling the river channel with water from the lake earlier than sudden rainfall south of the lake may end in flooding within the decrease counties. This situation would depart no capability to accommodate the runoff ought to rain fall within the areas downstream.

To illustrate the potential penalties, Davis recalled a previous occasion the place a hurricane was projected to deliver 30 inches of rain to Lake Livingston. However, the storm veered away, in the end resulting in in depth rainfall in Liberty County. Davis emphasised that pre-releasing water in such a scenario would have exacerbated the problems confronted by Liberty County.

Highlighting the substantial rainfall presently throughout the area, Davis mentioned that the present water release as of Thursday night, May 2, stands at a historic 124,266 cubic toes per second, surpassing the earlier document set throughout Hurricane Harvey at 110,600 cubic toes per second. The quantity is unchanged as of Friday morning, May 3.

Despite these unprecedented figures, Davis reassured that the release continues to be properly under the dam’s whole capability, estimated at round 300,000 cubic toes per second.

“We are far from reaching the dam’s true capacity. Catastrophic flooding of that magnitude would never occur; however, the dam’s design allows for such levels through the gates,” Davis mentioned.

Relating to the dam’s stability, Davis mentioned that it had been bolstered following Hurricane Rita and is displaying no indicators of compromise.

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