Beauregard Parish police jurors say they understand concerns of Toledo Bend property owners and managing agencies, but they want the same parties to acknowledge and address those of people downstream.

The second flooding in the Sabine River watershed south of the Toledo Dam in 18 months was enough for Jury President Rusty Williamson.

Following the August-September wash in the wake of Hurricane Harvey the irate Williamson began a campaign to seek support for changing the reservoir rules.

His point is that there must be a way to reduce undue downstream flooding from imminent stormwater events.

As Harvey hovered, it was apparent to all that extraordinary rain was about to fall over the reservoir area. The same held true back in March 2016 as heavy rain stalled for days over North and Central Louisiana.

In each instance, Williamson contends, there was plenty of time to discharge water from the reservoir in anticipation of the rainfall, rather than waiting for the lake level to rise to such elevation that sudden, massive discharge was necessary.

On Tuesday night, the Police Jury officially got the ball rolling by passing a resolution which will go to local, state, and federal officials alike, as well as the Sabine River Authority and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Prior to its drafting, some parish representatives as well as those of agencies involved in the process had an informal meeting with SRA representatives, the first line of communication in what likely will be a drawn-out process.

The resolution notes that a significant portion of the damage downstream from the Toledo Bend Dam in the 2016 and 2017 events resulted from the release of water from the watershed of the lake itself through the gate spillway and into the Sabine River.

“A flood-induced economic hardship plagues residents in home and property restoration costs and local governments in repeated repairs to its roads,” the resolution points out.

“We acknowledge the concerns of property owners on the lake and of the SRA and the FERC, but (the police jury) requests that the SRA and the FERC reciprocate and acknowledge the concerns of downstream citizens who are adversely affected by the current operating procedures, and join with us to endorse procedures designed to alleviate flooding due to impending significant weather events along the Sabine River; specifically, that FERC adjust federal guidelines to authorize the SRA to lower the reservoir level prior to the onset of these predictable flood events,” the resolution says.

SRA officials say their hands are tied because operating rules established by the federal agency prohibit release of water until certain levels are reached.

The FERC operating agreement, renewed in 2014 for 50 years, specifically omits flood control considerations.