Texas Highland Lakes

Texas Highland Lakes, Lake Travis

The Texas Highland Lakes

The Texas Highland Lakes are a series of six freshwater lakes (reservoirs) in Central Texas that were formed by dams on the lower Colorado River. The six lakes starting from north to south are Lake Buchanan, Inks Lake, Lake LBJ, Lake Marble Falls, Lake Travis and Lake Austin. These six lakes extend through these four counties in the Texas Hill Country, Burnet, Llano, Travis and Williamson. The Texas Colorado River itself winds southeast from West Texas to Matagorda Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

Flood Control of the Lower Colorado River

The Highland Lakes on the lower Colorado River are northwest of Austin in a historically dry area of Texas that also has a history of major flooding. The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) built the dams to manage floods and generate hydroelectric power in the 1930s and 1940s.

Water Supply Reservoirs

Lakes Buchanan and Travis, the two water supply reservoirs in the Highland Lakes, were designed to fluctuate, capturing water during rainy times and holding it for use when the weather turned drier. The lakes have provided a reliable water supply for Central Texas since Lake Travis was completed in the 1940s.

The Honorary Seventh Highland Lake

Lady Bird Lake and the respective Longhorn Dam are sometimes considered the seventh "honorary" lake and dam of the Highland Lakes. Lady Bird Lake is managed by the City of Austin where as the six original Highland Lakes are managed by LCRA. Unlike the other reservoirs in the Highland Lakes chain, which were constructed primarily to prevent flooding and generate hydroelectric power, Lady Bird Lake was constructed in order to provide a cooling pond for Austin's new power plant.

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