Lake Livingston (Trinity River Basin)

Aerial view of Lake Livingston and Dam (Photo provided by the owner)Lake Livingston is located about six miles southwest of Livingston, on the Trinity River. Lake Livingston was built, owned, and operated by the Trinity River Authority under contract with the City of Houston for the municipal, industrial water supplies, irrigation, and recreation purposes. The lake construction was paid for by the revenue bonds that were to be redeemed with income derived from the sale of water. The dam was designed by Brown and Root, Inc.

Construction began on May 28, 1966 and was completed on August 29, 1969 by Forrest and Cotton, Incorporated. Deliberate impoundment of water began in October 1968. The earthfill dam (including concrete emergency spillway) is 2.5 miles (4 km) in length with an average depth of 55 feet and has a top elevation of 145 feet above mean sea level. The spillway crest elevation is 99 feet above mean sea level controlled under 12 tainter gates (40 feet in width and 35 feet in height). According to 1991 volumetric survey by U. S. Bureau of Reclamation, the reservoir has a normal capacity of 1,741,867 acre-feet, covers 83,277 acres at its normal pool elevation of 131 feet above mean sea level. At top of gates, elevation of 134 feet above mean sea level, the Lake can store 2,004,377 acre feet encompassing a surface area of 91,730 acres. Lake Livingston has more than 450 miles of shoreline and drains an area of 16,616 square miles, extending into San Jacinto, Polk, Walker, and Trinity Counties. The lake is the largest lake constructed for water supply purposes located totally within the State of Texas. According to U S Geological Survey, record highest water level is 134.39 feet on October 17, 1994, while recorded spillway water release rate is 124,260 cubic feet per second (cfs) on May 4, 2024, exceeding the previous record of 110,600 cfs set during Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

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