Lake Buchanan

Buchanan Dam was completed in 1938

Buchanan Dam was completed in 1938

Photo by Larry D. Moore, CC by SA 4.0

Lake Buchanan is ten miles northwest of Burnet in Burnet and Llano counties. It was created by the construction of Buchanan Dam (at 30°45' N, 98°25' W), the first of a series of six projects owned and operated on the Colorado River by the Lower Colorado River Authority. The dam is a multiple concrete arch and gravity structure measuring 11,200 feet long and 145 feet high. Construction began in April 1931 but was suspended in April 1932; work resumed in 1935 and was completed in 1938; deliberate impoundment of water began in May 1937. The project was originally known as Hamilton Dam and Reservoir, but when its construction was completed, the name was changed to honor Texas Congressman James Paul Buchanan. In terms of area, Lake Buchanan is the largest of the Texas lakes, measuring thirty-one miles long and as many as five miles across. The reservoir has a capacity of 992,000 acre-feet and a surface area of 23,200 acres at the spillway crest elevation of 1,020.5 feet above mean sea level. Water released from Buchanan Reservoir is subsequently used at Inks, Lyndon B. Johnson, Marble Falls, Mansfield, and Austin plants for power generation, irrigation, mining, municipal, and recreational purposes. Normal water releases are controlled by the operation of turbines in the powerhouse. Floodwater releases are from one or more sections of the gated spillways.

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

Lake Measurements

Surface Area (in acres)
Storage Capacity (in acre-feet)

Belongs to

Lake Buchanan is part of or belongs to the following places.

Lake Maintained or Owned by


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Date of Origin

1937 86 years ago

Currently Exists


Place type

Lake Buchanan is classified as a Lake


  • Flood Control
  • Recreation
  • Power generation
  • Municipal water supply

Associated Names

  • (Hamilton Reservoir)

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