Bivins Lake (Red River Basin) | Texas Water Development Board

Bivins Lake (Red River Basin)

Bivins Lake (also called Amarillo City Lake) is located about ten miles southwest of Amarillo in Randall County, Texas on Palo Duro Creek, a tributary of the Red River. The lake is named after Lee Bivins, a famous rancher in the Texas Panhandle in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Bivins served eight years as an Amarillo city commissioner and was elected mayor in 1925. One of his major efforts was to construct this reservoir for water supply to the city during his tenure. He held that office until he died of a heart attack on January 17, 1929.

Presently, the lake is owned and operated by the City of Amarillo to recharge the groundwater reservoir that supplies the city's well field. The project was started in 1926 and completed a year later. It has a capacity of 5,120 acre-feet and a surface area of 379 acres at the spillway crest elevation of 3,634.7 feet above mean sea level. There is currently no direct diversion of water from the lake. Instead, water in storage infiltrates into the Ogallala Aquifer supplying wells that supply water to the city. Due to insufficient upstream runoff and high infiltration rates to the Ogallala Aquifer, the lake has dried up on several occasions. The dam controls a drainage area of approximately 982 square miles, of which 920 square miles are probably noncontributing.

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