GBRA to Inflate Saltwater Barrier near Tivoli

Posted: July 14, 2017

For more information
LaMarriol Smith, 830-379-5822,

TIVOLI, Texas — Increasing drought conditions along upper- and mid-areas of the Guadalupe River Basin have caused a gradual decline in the river’s level as recorded at the GBRA lower Guadalupe diversion dam and saltwater barrier, located near the community of Tivoli, Texas about 10 miles upstream of the mouth of the Guadalupe River.  As a result, GBRA crews activated the fabridam bags of its saltwater barrier on Friday, July 14, 2017, due to the current low river level.

Because a 2 to 4 foot drop in water level is possible from the upstream to the downstream side of the saltwater barrier when the bags are inflated, GBRA is issuing a boating caution for anyone who uses the lower Guadalupe River near Tivoli for water recreation or commercial fishing.  Warning signs will be posted and lights illuminated for nighttime conditions. 

Attempting to pass through the structure in a boat while the barrier is in operation could result in serious injury, or possible loss of life.  Boaters on the upstream side should stay a safe distance away from the structure to avoid being carried downstream by strong currents.

Stephanie Shelly, GBRA’s division manager, explained, “The operation of the barrier would prevent the possible intrusion of salt water from the San Antonio Bay system and protects the fresh water supply when dry conditions develop during the long days of summer.”

“Crews inflated both the inboard and outboard fabridam bags of the barrier,” said Shelly.  “Continued operation will depend primarily on the amount and timing of rainfall received further upstream.”

When the fabridam bags are not in operation, the design of the barrier allows normal flows of the river to pass through without restriction, because the bags are completely deflated and lie flat on the river bottom.  However, when the barrier is activated by inflating the bags, upstream water will “pool” to the desired operating level of 4.0 feet msl, with most of the water flowing over the bags and downstream to San Antonio Bay. 

The barrier will remain in operation until river conditions improve.  While GBRA is aware of the inconvenience to the boating public, operation of this structure is essential to safeguard water supplies for agricultural, industrial and municipal drinking water use.  For more information, contact GBRA’s Calhoun County office in Port Lavaca at (361) 552-9751.

 GBRA Communications and Education staff disseminates press releases to local media and posts accordingly on the press release page of GBRA’s website: www.gbra.org.  Information also is shared through GBRA’s social media accounts: Instagram and Twitter “@GBRATX” and Facebook at “GBRA of Texas.”

The GBRA was established by the Texas Legislature in 1933 as a water conservation and reclamation district. GBRA provides stewardship for the water resources in its 10-county statutory district, which begins near the headwaters of the Guadalupe and Blanco rivers, ends at San Antonio Bay, and includes Kendall, Comal, Hays, Caldwell, Guadalupe, Gonzales, DeWitt, Victoria, Calhoun, and Refugio counties.

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© 1998 Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority

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