7,000 Texas Lakes – Are They Actually Lakes?

Did you notice in our last blog we mentioned there were over 7000 lakes in Texas? If you were like us, we were shocked by the abundance of lakes. 7000?! Wow! We started to wonder how those lakes originated. Were they actually lakes? Were they man-made or naturally created? Well, we figured out some answers that we wanted to share with you. Before you build your dream lakefront home or buy a piece of real estate on Texas waterfront, here is some information about the various lake sources. 

Historically, Texas had very few naturally-created water sources. After World War II, the state of Texas began to focus on infrastructure and civil works projects. Multiple floods had left devastating effects and caused loss of human and livestock life. Dams were built to help with floor control and provide water sources for growing city populations. Nowadays, modern cities have intricate waterways of dams, reservoirs, lakes, and levees to provide a consistent water supply that’s independent of the weather.


Currently, there are 188 major reservoirs used as water supply in the state of Texas. Reservoir can be either man-made or created naturally. In nature, when debris or log jam a river, it’s begins to pool and flood the surrounding areas. Humans create the same effect by using dams. You can usually tell that a flooded area is a reservoir because the water conforms to the surrounding topography of the land. Reservoirs do not carve out the land, they simply flood the area.

Due to Texas’s unpredictable weather, cities often build dams to have a consistent water supply. Each reservoirs varies in size. For example, the Upper Nueces lake contains 5,200 acre-feet while the Toledo Bend Reservoir measures at 4,472,900 acre-feet.


Lakes are natural bowl-like depressions that fill with water. These depressions occur through glacial activity, tectonic plate movement, or volcanic disruption. In Texas, natural-made lakes are extremely rare. For example, Lake Caddo is one of the very few natural-made lakes. 


Playas are also commonly referred to as mud holes, Buffalo wallows, or lagoons. They are relatively shallow, small depressions. Within the state of Texas, there are around 19,000 playas, especially within the high plains. Now, playas are seasonal. During rainy seasons, the precipitation and run-off pool in the shallow depressions and create the playas. They are very important to the ecosystem since they’re the primary source of groundwater recharge. They help with floor control and act as natural filtration systems – filtering out fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides.


When a river changes course and does not have an inlet or outlet, it creates a pool that eventually turns into a resaca. Especially in horseshoe bends within rivers, resacas easily occur. In Southern Texas, there are 5 primary resacas that help with flood control, irrigation, and water storage.

If you’d like to find a waterfront property in Texas, make sure to check out USAWaterview.com. 

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