Lake Anahuac

Lake Anahuac, once known as Turtle Bay, is forty-five miles east of Houston in western Chambers County (at 29°47' N, 94°42' W). In 1900 the Farmers Canal Company began pumping water out of what was then called Turtle Bay to irrigate rice fields. The depletion of fresh water led to an encroachment of salt water, which in turn forced the newly formed Trinity River Irrigation District to construct a barrier across the mouth of the bay; the bay had been declared nonnavigable in 1902. In 1915 a hurricane destroyed the bulkhead, and salt water again threatened both the bay's ecology and area farmers. In 1931 the Lone Star Canal Company began rebuilding the saltwater barrier. Despite protests from oil, shell, and barge companies, the United States War Department decided to close the entrance to Turtle Bay in 1936. Construction of a new dam, levee, and spillway began on March 17, 1953; by that time the reservoir had been named Lake Anahuac. The ten-foot hydraulic fill embankment, completed in July 1954, increased Lake Anahuac's storage capacity from 17,000 to 35,300 acre-feet. The lake is fed by the Trinity River and has a drainage area of 199 square miles. By 1984 Lake Anahuac supplied the needs of irrigation, local industry, and mineral extraction. It was operated by the Chambers-Liberty County Navigation District.

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Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Belongs to

Lake Anahuac is part of or belongs to the following places:

Lake Measurements

  • Surface Area (in acres): 5,035
  • Storage Capacity (in acre-feet): 33,348

Lake Maintained or Owned by

Chambers-Liberty Counties Navigation District

Date of Origin

1936 (88 years ago)

Currently Exists


Place type

Lake Anahuac is classified as a Lake


  • Municipal water supply
  • Irrigation
  • Industry
  • Mining

Associated Names

  • (Turtle Bay Reservoir)