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Water School

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What is a flood control lake?

The great majority of our lakes (reservoirs) in Texas were built to help tame the state’s rivers and streams, which from time to time would swell beyond their banks and cause devastating floods. Such was the case with the Brazos River. History books record numerous destructive floods took place in the Brazos basin before a series of dams were built along its length to create reservoirs to hold periodic flood waters.
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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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What is mean sea level?

Mean sea level is the average height of the ocean’s surface, between high and low tide. It is used as a standard in reckoning land and other elevations such as lake levels. A lake’s conservation pool will be measured as a certain number of feet above mean sea level.
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I’ve heard that lakes have a “lifetime.” What does that mean?

Texas streams and rivers are in constant motion and the waters they pour into our lakes carry with them a continuous but varying amount of sediment.When the water is slowed or stopped as it runs into a lake or by a dam, the sediment drops to the lake’s bottom. This sediment builds up year after year and at some point, fills the lake to a point it can no longer continue to serve its purpose in flood control or water supply. This would be the end of the lake’s effective “lifetime.”  The averag...
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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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