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Why are there federal reservoirs in the Brazos River basin?

The US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) operates eight flood control reservoirs within the Brazos River basin that, through a contract with the federal government, also serve as water supply impoundments for the Brazos River Authority system of reservoirs.Lakes Proctor, Whitney, Aquilla, Belton, Stillhouse Hollow, Georgetown, Granger, and Somerville store water for use by municipal, agricultural, industrial and mining use.Similar to the Authority’s three water supply reservoirs, water contracts ...
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What is Allens Creek Reservoir?

Allens Creek Reservoir is a planned water storage lake permitted for construction on Allens Creek, a tributary of the Brazos River, in Austin County. The permit to build the lake was originally issued to Houston Lighting and Power (Reliant Energy) in 1974 by the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, now known as the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).The reservoir was originally to have served as a cooling lake for a nuclear power plant. When Reliant Energy abandoned plan...
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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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What is an off-channel reservoir?

An off-channel reservoir is a water supply lake built next to or near a river.  Off-channel reservoirs are considered by some to be environmentally friendly, lessening the impact on fish and other wildlife by avoiding the need to place a large dam directly on the main stem of the river.An example of an off-channel reservoir is the Brazos River Authority’s planned and permitted Allens Creek Reservoir, near Houston. For more information about Allens Creek, click here.
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What is a water supply lake?

As the name implies, water supply lakes are built primarily to provide a place to store water for Texas residents, communities, businesses, agriculture, industry and others who all depend on water to survive and thrive. Such lakes are especially vital during periods of drought, when other sources of water may be limited.  Many of Texas’ flood control lakes serve a secondary purpose as a water storage facility.  However, reservoirs designed for water supply, do not necessarily also provide flood...
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What is a dam? Are all dams alike?

A dam is a structure designed to hold back water in a lake, river, stream or other waterbody. Large dams typically include gates or other outlet devices that can be raised or lowered, opened or closed to allow variable amounts of water to pass downstream or leave the lake. The path the water takes to leave the reservoir through the gates is called a spillway.There are several styles of dams used for different purposes to meet specific conditions at the dam site.  The design of the dam is in...
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How do you build a lake (reservoir)?

While the process may vary for each location, here’s a general outline of how a reservoir goes from idea to reality.Once a need for water in an area is established, a site for the reservoir must be chosen. Several factors go into this decision, including nearness to a source of demand, a feeder supply of water (such as a river or creek), the geological suitability of the area and engineering constraints. Other factors considered could include impact on the environment, the local population...
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Why are there so many man-made lakes in Texas?

Natural lakes have been a rare commodity in Texas. In fact, the state had only one natural lake, Caddo Lake in East Texas, that was formed by a log jam.  A permanent dam was installed at the lake in the early 20th century.A large number of the state’s remaining lakes were made in response to the occasional propensity of Texas’ usually tranquil rivers to flood during heavy rains.Texas’ early history is filled with accounts of devastating floods causing loss of human life an...
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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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