A dam failure on Lake Dunlap along The Guadalupe River is causing a major headache for homeowners up and down the lake for miles. Now those homeowners and the Guadalupe-Blanco River Association are trying to figure out how to fix or replace the dam, but work has been stopped on that dam and three others along the river due to safety concerns.
The water on Lake Dunlap is about 14 feet lower than it used to be thanks to the 90-year-old busted dam a few miles downstream.
“Everybody is still in shock and trying to figure out ways to get it fixed,” said J Harmon, the President of the Preserve Lake Dunlap Association. He’s also lived along the lake for close to 15 years. But last month when the dam broke, his heart broke, too. “I don’t even like to look down there, to be honest," he said. "It’s an ugly mess. Stumps sticking out everywhere there’s nobody going up and down the lake anymore waving to you.”
The Guadalupe-Blanco River Association had to stop repairs to the dam due to safety concerns, but in the long run, there just isn’t the funding in place to get the dam fixed or replaced properly. The cost would be between $15 and $35 million.
The solution could be sell the dam for $1 to those with a vested interest, the waterfront homeowners whose docks are now without boats, and stilts exposed where the water used to be. “What we’re going to do is try to create a water district which is going to be a waterfront-only tax district involving waterfront properties only," Harmon said.
Harmon said the goal is to get the lake back to the way it used to be, so the value of their homes doesn’t plummet. “This district we are going to create is the business part first, then after we create the business part and we get it solved we get the dam fixed, recreation will come back.”
Harmon said if voters approve of the district as they are proposing it now, it would cost about $1,000-$2,000 per waterfront homeowner, depending on the size of their property facing the water. But it would still take at least three years to fix or replace the busted damn.