October 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of Lake Conroe. The lake that has shaped the lives, history, and economy of our community is finally hitting this milestone. What’s amazing is that many people who currently live in our community were here way back when the dam was being constructed! They have seen the incredible growth of our area that this lake has been a central part of.
The primary focus of Lake Conroe has always been and will continue to be water supply. This objective was the basis of a partnership agreement the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) reached with the City of Houston and the Texas Water Development Board in 1968 to jointly construct a water supply reservoir, Lake Conroe, on the West Fork of the San Jacinto River. The dam constructed to impound the waters of the reservoir was completed in January 1973, and it was filled by October 31, 1973. The lake covers a 21,000-acre area and extends about 21 miles from the dam to the upper reaches of the West Fork of the San Jacinto River, with 5,000 acres lying in the Sam Houston National Forest. The lake can store up to 430,000 acre-feet of water at the normal pool elevation of 201 feet above Mean Sea Level, i.e., above the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929.
Besides providing an alternative source of water supply for the City of Houston, Lake Conroe began in September 2015, to supplement groundwater sources in Montgomery County as a source of drinking water. Rapid population growth and the resulting increase in water demand in the county has exhausted the sustainable groundwater supply and prompted the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District to mandate a reduction in groundwater withdrawals. The SJRA responded to this mandate by entering into voluntary agreements with over 90 public and private entities in Montgomery County to construct a water treatment system using surface water from Lake Conroe in order to create a more balanced approach to supplying the water needs of the entire Montgomery County area.
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.
In addition to water supply, Lake Conroe serves as a way to enhance and strengthen the ecosystem of our area. The lake has attracted many types of wildlife, especially with the Sam Houston National Forest bordering the lake to the north. Another form of ecosystem management is native aquatic plants. SJRA, in partnership with Texas Parks and Wildlife, maintains a native plant nursery on SJRA’s property. The two groups go out several times per year to plant these native plants on the shoreline of the lake. The native plants help minimize shoreline erosion, help create fish habitat, and help to minimize invasive plants in the lake.
Lake Conroe is also one of the great recreational destinations of Texas. From swimming, to kayaking, to boating, to fishing, and more, Lake Conroe has an activity for everyone! The southern portion of the Lake is filled with marinas, restaurants, and more, making it a fantastic vacation destination. The northern portion of the lake is bordered by the national forest, making it perfect for those who want a more remote and nature-filled experience. The lake also has many residents who own boats and enjoy the lake on a weekly basis. SJRA and Precinct Constable 1 make every effort to ensure the safety of those enjoying recreation on the lake.
Whether your interest in Lake Conroe is due to its water supply, history, environment, or recreation, we want you to join us in wishing Lake Conroe a Happy 50th Birthday this month! The best way to do this is to post a picture of the lake on social media, tag SJRA, and hashtag #LakeConroe50th. SJRA will be posting content throughout the entire month to celebrate our most cherished resource in the area. We hope everyone in the community gets the chance to visit Lake Conroe this month to remember how far it has come in 50 years!
Featured in Dock Line Magazine.
Click the QR code above to watch the Lake Conroe 50th Anthem Video.