Completed in January of 1973, Lake Conroe was originally constructed by the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) as a water supply reservoir through a joint venture with the City of Houston. Like most of the reservoirs in Texas, Lake Conroe was planned and constructed shortly after the record seven-year drought of the 1950s as part of a reservoir-building boom intended by state water planners to prevent a repeat of the water shortages experienced during the 50’s drought. The SJRA began construction of Lake Conroe in 1968 pursuant to a 1/3–2/3 partnership with the City of Houston.
In addition to the water supplies in Lake Conroe, the SJRA has been quietly working over the past 70-plus years to develop long-term water supplies throughout the San Jacinto and Trinity river basins to ensure adequate water for both municipal and industrial customers. These efforts began in 1945 with the acquisition of the old Works Project Administration canal system serving ship channel industries, as well as water rights in the San Jacinto River – before the construction of Lake Houston. Since that time, the SJRA has acquired additional water supplies in the Trinity River basin.
In September of 2009, following years of negotiations, the SJRA completed a contract with the City of Houston to purchase the right to use the City’s 2/3 share of the water supplies in Lake Conroe. This important acquisition makes all of the water in Lake Conroe available for Montgomery County users, although it isn’t expected to be needed until approximately 2025.
The SJRA’s history of water supply acquisitions has made it possible for Montgomery County to have reliable, cost-effective water supplies to meet its future water needs.
Lake Conroe Facts:
- Type of dam: Earth-filled
- Engineer: Freese & Nichols, Inc.
- Contractor: H.B. Zachry
- Construction completed: January 1973
- Lake filled: October 1973
- Length of dam: 2.2 miles
- Maximum height of dam: 82 feet
- Spillway outlet: Five 40-feet wide tainter gates for release of excess flows
- Service outlet: Three 5-feet wide sluice gates for release to downstream customers
- Type of reservoir: Water supply
- Surface area: 21,000 acres
- Storage volume: 430,000 acre-feet
- Average depth: 20 feet
- Normal pool elevation: 201’ above mean sea level
- Highest water level: 205.58’ MSL on October 19, 1994
- Lowest water level: 192.68’ MSL on December 2, 2011, Previous record was 196.02’ MSL on January 12, 1989. See Lake Updates for current level.