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Water School

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Why do lake levels fluctuate?

Despite a common misconception, there are very few “constant level lakes,” and none operated by the Brazos River Authority.  A constant level lake is one that is artificially managed to remain at a specific level essentially by using another source of water to replenish losses due to evaporation, etc.Several factors can affect a lake’s level and only some are within human control. The chief factor that is not controllable is the impact of climate.  Evaporation is a constant, natural part of t...
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What is constant level?

Constant level is a term given to the practice of maintaining a body of water at a specific elevation.  No natural body of water has a constant level.  While some fluctuate more than others, all natural bodies of water change on a daily basis, some rapidly during floods.  Few man-made reservoirs have the ability to be maintained at a constant level as evaporation, drought, water use and/or flooding affect elevation levels.
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What is a lake's elevation?

The height above mean sea level that water in a reservoir has reached. Brazos River Authority and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lakes are actually reservoirs, or parts of the Brazos River basin impounded by dams. (A free-flowing river is measured in stages, that is, by depth from the river bed to the surface.)
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How deep is my lake?

Periodically, officials conduct surveys of reservoirs within the Brazos River basin to determine each lake’s volume. As part of that work, survey crews determine each lake’s depth (in feet). Do not confuse this measurement with lake level, however.A reservoir’s depth is the distance from the bottom to the top of the conservation pool, the point where the lake is considered full. The lake level is the number of feet the surface is above mean sea level.Surveys use a combinat...
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The information provided on this site is intended as background on water within the Brazos River basin. There should be no expectation that this information is all encompassing, complete or in any way examines every aspect of this very complex natural resource.

If you have questions about a post or would like additional information, please contact us or call 888-922-6272.

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