Lake Livingston Dam Needs Repairs

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Winds from hurricane Rita kicked up waves that pounded the dam on Lake Livingston for several hours Saturday, causing damage that has officials worried. As a result, the Trinity River Authority has evacuated residents along the Trinity River dam, and has them headed for higher ground.

Laurie Watt and her family own property along Lake Livingston, In fact, she even uses the water along the downstream as a natural fence for her livestock. But the water that was once her friend...may soon be her foe.

Hundreds of residents are being moved out so the lake can be lowered and that will probably mean flooding along the Trinity River, which has Laurie worried.

"Its gonna cause a lot of problems from what I can tell around here just from fact water level is gonna be down so far," says Laurie.

The Trinity River Authority is lowering the lake elevation so repairs can be made to the Lake Livingston Dam, which suffered erosion damage during Hurricane Rita.

It will also take pressure off the dam until it can be surveyed and officials say lowering the lake is the only way to get a good look at the damage.

"All the riff raff on the face of the dam has been damaged and we're in the process of figuring out how we're gonna fix it, who's gonna fix it and then how long this is gonna take, how much its gonna cost. These are all opened questions at this point," says John Jadrosich with Trinity River Authority.

An extended period of high winds and waves, some topping 15 feet, were literally breaking the face of the dam. Once the lake level is lowered from 131 feet to 127 feet, it will leave many more feet of shoreline high and dry.

"What's going to be significant is people are gonna have access to problems if they have boat dock and boats swinging from cable, their not gonna be able to launch them. It will just be bare ground under their boat. So that's gonna be the case for many months. It will be difficult, but we have no other alternative at this point," says Jadrosich.

Trinity River Authority officials say the lake level will be down for about six months.