The Toledo Bend Reservoir, which is the largest man-made body of water in Texas, has decreased water release flow by a little more than 36-percent following Harvey, engineers confirmed to 12 News Wednesday.
The abundance of rain that fell on the reservoir and Sabine River Basin, above the reservoir, during the storm forced engineers to begin releasing water per a pre-established guide to ensure dam safety.
On Wednesday, engineers said the amount of water flowing out had been lowered by roughly 1/3 from the normal 13,000 cubic feet per second typically being pushed out the reservoir's generators in situations like this one -- a process that has been happening regularly since the lake's inception in 1968.
Project Engineer Gene Guidry explained the reservoir is not a water control facility, and when lots of water is coming down the Sabine River, his engineers have no choice but to let it flow in order to ensure the structural integrity of the dam. He said he personally did an inspection of the dam after Harvey and determined it was safe in its current state.
Guidry said his team does not proactively release water ahead of storms because doing so actually exacerbates problems in low-lying local areas like Deweyville, especially if storm predictions turn out not to be as severe as expected. Instead, engineers wait for the reservoir to fill up before releasing water downstream.
For now, engineers will continue to gradually lower the water level to "conservation pool level," which is between 168 and 172 feet high.
If they release water before storms hit, it exacerbates the problem for places like Deweyville...