Texas Almanac, 1992-1993 Page: 90
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90 TEXAS ALMANAC 1992-1993
guage he spoke - Rio Rojo or Rio Roxo in Spanish, Riv-
iere Rouge in French and Red River in English. The
Spanish and French names were often found on maps
until the middle of the last century when the English,
Red River, came to be generally accepted. At an early
date, the river became the axis for French advance
from Louisiana northwestward as far as present-day
Montague County. There was consistent early naviga-
tion of the river from its mouth on the Mississippi to
Shreveport, above which navigation was blocked by a
natural log raft. A number of important gateways into
Texas from the North were established along the
stream such as Pecan Point and Jonesborough in Red
River County, Colbert's Ferry and Preston in Grayson
County and, later, Doan's Store Crossing in Wilbarger
County. The river was a menace to the early traveler
because of both its variable current and its quicksands
which brought disaster to many a trail herd cow as well
as ox team and covered wagon.
The largest water conservation project on the Red
River is Texoma Lake, which is the largest lake lying
wholly or partly in Texas and the tenth largest reservoir
(in capacity) in the United States. Its capacity is
5,382,000 acre feet. Texas' share is 2,722,000.
Red River water's high content of salt and other
minerals limits its usefulness along its upper reaches.
Ten salt springs and tributaries in Texas and Oklahoma
contribute most of these minerals.
The uppermost tributary of the Red River in Texas
is the Tierra Blanca Creek, which rises in Curry Coun-
ty, N.M., and flows easterly across Deaf Smith and Ran-
dall counties to become the Prairie Dog Town Fork a
few miles east of Canyon. Other principal tributaries in
Texas are the Pease and the Wichita in North Central
Texas and the Sulphur in Northeast Texas, which flows
into the Red River after it has crossed the boundary line
into Arkansas. From Oklahoma the principal tributary
is the Washita. The Ouachita, a river with the same pro-
nunciation of its name, though spelled differently, is the
principal tributary to its lower course.
The Canadian River heads near Raton Pass in
northern New Mexico near the Colorado boundary line
and flows into Texas on the west line of Oldham County.
It crosses the Texas Panhandle into Oklahoma and
there flows into the Arkansas. Most of its course across
the Panhandle is in a deep gorge. A tributary dips into
Texas' North Panhandle and then flows to a confluence
with the main channel in Oklahoma. One of several the-
ories as to how the Canadian got its name is that some
early explorers thought it flowed into Canada. Lake
Meredith, formed by Sanford Dam on the Canadian, pro-
vides water for 11 Panhandle cities.
Because of the deep gorge and the quicksand at
many places, the Canadian has been a peculiarly diffi-
cult stream to bridge. It is known especially in its lower
course in Oklahoma as outstanding among the streams
of the country for great amount of quicksand in its
Lakes and Reservoirs
The large increase in the number of reservoirs in Texas during the past half-century has greatly improved
water conservation and supplies. As late as 1913, Texas had only eight major reservoirs with a total storage capacity
of 376,000 acre-feet. Most of this capacity was in Medina Lake, with 254,000 acre-feet capacity, created by a dam
completed in May 1913.
By 1920, Texas had 11 major reservoirs with combined storage capacity of 449,710 acre-feet. The state water
agency reported 32 reservoirs and 1,284,520 acre-feet capacity in 1930; 47 reservoirs with 5,369,550 acre-feet capacity
in 1940; 66 with 9,623,870 acre-feet capacity by 1950; 105 with total capacity of 22,746,200 in 1960; 149 with total capacity
of 51,086,200 in 1970; 168 with total capacity of 53,302,400 in 1980. In January 1983, Texas had 189 major reservoirs
existing or under construction, with a total capacity near 58.6 million acre-feet, of which 38.4 million acre-feet was
conservation storage, 17.8 million acre-feet was flood control storage and 2.4 million acre-feet was considered
According to the U.S. Statistical Abstract of 1987, Texas ranks second behind Minnesota in inland water area
among the continental states. Texas has 4,790 square miles of inland water, according to this survey, compared to
Minnesota's 4,854 square miles.
The following table lists reservoirs in Texas having more than 5,000 acre-feet capacity. A few locally significant
reservoirs of less capacity are not included. With few exceptions, the listed reservoirs are those that were complet-
ed by Jan. 1, 1987 and in use. An asterisk (*) indicates those that are under construction.
There are about 5,700 reservoirs in Texas with surface areas of 10 acres or larger; however, conservation water
storage capacity in the listed reservoirs represents about 97 percent of total conservation water storage capacity in
all Texas reservoirs.
Conservation storage capacity is used in the table below; the surface area used is that area at conservation
elevation only. (Different methods of computing capacity are used; detailed information may be obtained from
Texas Water Development Board, Austin; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or local sources.) Also, it should be noted
that boundary reservoir capacities include water designated for Texas use and non-Texas water.
In the list below, information is given in the following order: (1) Name of lake or reservoir; (2) county or
counties in which located; (3) river or creek on which located; (4) location with respect to some city or town; (5)
purpose of reservoir; (6) owner of reservoir. Some of these items, when not listed, are not available. For the larger
lakes and reservoirs, the dam impounding water to form the lake bears the same name, unless otherwise indicated.
Abbreviations in list below are as follows: L., lake; R., river; Co., county; Cr., creek; (C) conservation; (FC) flood
control; (R) recreation; (P) power; (M) municipal; (D) domestic; (Ir.) irrigation); (In.) industry; (Mi.) mining
including oil production; (FH) fish hatchery; USAE, United States Army Corps of Engineers; WC&ID, Water Control
and Improvement District; WID, Water Improvement District; USBR, United States Bureau of Reclamation.
Lakes and Reservoirs Area (Acres) (Acre-Ft.)
Abilene L.-Taylor Co.; Elm Cr.; 6 mi. NW Tuscola; (M-In.-R); City of Abilene ........
Addicks Reservoir-Harris Co.; S. Mayde and Langham Crs.; 1 mi. E. Addicks; (for flood
control only); USAE.. ................................
Alcoa L.-Milam Co.; Sandy Cr.; 7 mi. SW Rockdale; (In.-R); Aluminum Co. of America
Amistad Reservoir-Val Verde Co.; Rio Grande, dam between Del Rio and confluence of
Rio Grande and Devils River; an international project of the U.S. and Mexico; 12 mi.
NW Del Rio; (C-R-Ir.-P-FC); International Boundary and Water Com. (Texas' share of
conservation capacity is 56.2 percent.) .......................... .........
Amon G. Carter, L.-Montague Co.; Big Sandy Cr.; 6 mi. S Bowie; (M-In.); City of Bowie
Anahuac L.-Chambers Co.; Turtle Bayou; near Anahuac; (Ir.-In.-Mi.); Chambers-Li-
berty counties Navigation District ....................................
*Applewhite Reservoir-Bexar Co.; Medina R................................
Aquilla L.-Hill Co.; Aquilla Cr.; 10.2 mi. SW of Hillsboro; (FC-M-lr.-In.-R); USAE-Brazos
R . A uth . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . .. . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . .. . . . . . . . ...
Arlington L. --Tarrant Co.; Village Cr.; 7 mi. W Arlington; (M-In.); City of Arlington....
TEXAS ALMANAC 1992-1993
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Kingston, Mike. Texas Almanac, 1992-1993, book, 1991; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth279642/m1/94/: accessed August 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.