Waurika Lake

Last updated
Waurika Lake
Location Jefferson County, Oklahoma
Coordinates 34°16′55″N98°04′40″W / 34.28194°N 98.07778°W / 34.28194; -98.07778 Coordinates: 34°16′55″N98°04′40″W / 34.28194°N 98.07778°W / 34.28194; -98.07778
Type Reservoir
Primary inflows Beaver Creek, Oklahoma
Primary outflows Beaver Creek, Oklahoma
Catchment area 562 sq mi (1,460 km2)
Managing agency U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Built 1963
First flooded 1980
Max. length 11 mi (18 km)
Surface area 10,000 acres (4,000 ha)
Water volume 192,000 acre⋅ft (0.237 km3)
Shore length1 80 mi (130 km)
Surface elevation 951 ft (290 m)
Settlements Waurika, Oklahoma
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Waurika Lake is a reservoir in southwestern Oklahoma, near Waurika. It is primarily in Jefferson County, but small parts of it are in Stephens County and Cotton County, Oklahoma. [1] Its primary purposes are to provide flood control, irrigation, water supply, water quality, fish and wildlife, recreation, and other conservation needs of the public. The lake supplies water for the cities of Lawton, Duncan, Comanche, Temple, and Waurika. [2] The wildlife management area comprises about 6,040 acres (24.4 km2). [3]

Reservoir A storage space for fluids

A reservoir is, most commonly, an enlarged natural or artificial lake, pond or impoundment created using a dam or lock to store water.

Oklahoma State of the United States of America

Oklahoma is a state in the South Central region of the United States, bordered by Kansas on the north, Missouri on the northeast, Arkansas on the east, Texas on the south, New Mexico on the west, and Colorado on the northwest. It is the 20th-most extensive and the 28th-most populous of the fifty United States. The state's name is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning "red people". It is also known informally by its nickname, "The Sooner State", in reference to the non-Native settlers who staked their claims on land before the official opening date of lands in the western Oklahoma Territory or before the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889, which dramatically increased European-American settlement in the eastern Indian Territory. Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were merged into the State of Oklahoma when it became the 46th state to enter the union on November 16, 1907. Its residents are known as Oklahomans, and its capital and largest city is Oklahoma City.

Waurika, Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, United States

Waurika is the county seat of Jefferson County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 2,064 at the 2010 census, a 4.36 percent decrease from 2,158 at the 2000 census.


Continued operation of the lake water pumping system is being jeopardized by a buildup of silt near the water intake. The extremely hot summers of 2011-2013 have caused excessive evaporation of lake water and unusually high consumption by communities that use the water. Water officials estimated that pumping may have had to cease in April 2015, unless corrective actions could be taken soon, [4] although an extremely rainy storm season in May of that year raised the lake levels to 90.36% capacity.[ citation needed ]

Silt is granular material of a size between sand and clay, whose mineral origin is quartz and feldspar. Silt may occur as a soil or as sediment mixed in suspension with water and soil in a body of water such as a river. It may also exist as soil deposited at the bottom of a water body, like mudflows from landslides. Silt has a moderate specific area with a typically non-sticky, plastic feel. Silt usually has a floury feel when dry, and a slippery feel when wet. Silt can be visually observed with a hand lens, exhibiting a sparkly appearance. It also can be felt by the tongue as granular when placed on the front teeth.


Waurika Dam is on Beaver Creek, a tributary of the Red River, about 6 miles (9.7 km) northwest of Waurika. The lake drainage area is 562 square miles (1,460 km2). [5]

Red River of the South major tributary of the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers in the southern United States

The Red River, or sometimes the Red River of the South, is a major river in the southern United States of America. It was named for the red-bed country of its watershed. It is one of several rivers with that name. Although it was once a tributary of the Mississippi River, the Red River is now a tributary of the Atchafalaya River, a distributary of the Mississippi that flows separately into the Gulf of Mexico. It is connected to the Mississippi River by the Old River Control Structure.

Construction of Waurika Dam began in 1963, with completion of the project occurring in 1980. The lake is 11 miles (18 km) long and contains 192,000 acre feet of water at its normal elevation, 951 feet (290 m). The surface covers about 10,000 acres (40 km2) and has 80 miles (130 km) of shoreline. [1]

Environmental issues

Prolonged drought in southwestern Oklahoma during 2011 12 has caused serious harm to the lake. Water conservation steps, including severe restrictions on lawn watering and higher customer fees, have been implemented by the cities who consume the lake water. Evaporation losses have been high, and there are concerns about the increased rate of silting. Drought conditions are also conducive to the formation of harmful algae.

2011 Algae bloom

During August 2011, the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality found high concentrations of blue-green algae in lake water samples and banned human contact with untreated lake water. This algae contains toxins that are very hazardous to humans. In response, the Corps of Engineers shut down the two swimming beaches there. [2] By late December algae concentrations had dropped sufficiently to lift the ban, although the agencies were still discouraging water contact. [6]

Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality

The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is a department of the government of Oklahoma under the Governor of Oklahoma. It is responsible for protecting human health and for safeguarding the natural environment: air, water, and land. DEQ is chiefly responsible for the environmental policy of Oklahoma. It is governed by a thirteen member Environmental Quality Board appointed by the Governor, which in turn appoints an Executive Director to administer the Department.

2013 Silt accumulation

In June 2013, an Oklahoma Water Resources Board study disclosed that a build-up of clay and dirt had accumulated close to the water pump intake. This was the result of high evaporation rates and high water consumption. The lake received about 4 inches (10 cm) of rain in April 2013, but that would only extend the life of the lake about one week. [4]

Water officials have called for mandatory 10 percent reductions in the supply to users as one way to extend the life of the system. Dredging the sediment is also being considered. Removing the accumulated material is expected to cost between $2.5 and $6 million. The dredging project could begin in 2014, but funding must be found first. [4]

Officials also pointed out that the current low levels of lake water present additional safety hazards for lake users. Low levels are exposing old trees, bridge piers and other obstacles. The water has low visibility and there are a lot of dropoffs in the bottom. [4]

Related Research Articles

Ogallala Aquifer Shallow Aquifer

The Ogallala Aquifer is a shallow water table aquifer surrounded by sand, silt, clay, and gravel located beneath the Great Plains in the United States. One of the world's largest aquifers, it underlies an area of approximately 174,000 sq mi (450,000 km2) in portions of eight states. It was named in 1898 by geologist N. H. Darton from its type locality near the town of Ogallala, Nebraska. The aquifer is part of the High Plains Aquifer System, and rests on the Ogallala Formation, which is the principal geologic unit underlying 80% of the High Plains.

Lake Mead reservoir on the Colorado River in the U.S. states of Nevada and Arizona

Lake Mead is a man made lake that lies on the Colorado River, about 24 mi (39 km) from the Las Vegas Strip, southeast of the city of Las Vegas, Nevada, in the states of Nevada and Arizona. It is the largest reservoir in the United States in terms of water capacity. Formed by the Hoover Dam on September 30, 1935, the reservoir serves water to the states of Arizona, California, and Nevada, as well as some of Mexico, providing sustenance to nearly 20 million people and large areas of farmland.

Lake Okeechobee freshwater lake in the state of Florida

Lake Okeechobee, also known as Florida's Inland Sea, is the largest freshwater lake in the state of Florida. It is the eighth largest natural freshwater lake in the United States and the second largest natural freshwater lake contained entirely within the contiguous United States. Okeechobee covers 730 square miles (1,900 km2), approximately half the size of the state of Rhode Island, and is exceptionally shallow for a lake of its size, with an average depth of only 9 feet. The Kissimmee River, located directly north of Lake Okeechobee, is the lake's primary source. The lake is divided between Glades, Okeechobee, Martin, Palm Beach, and Hendry counties. All five counties meet at one point near the center of the lake.

Caloosahatchee River River on the southwest coast of Florida, US

The Caloosahatchee River is a river on the southwest Gulf Coast of Florida in the United States, approximately 67 miles (108 km) long. It drains rural areas on the northern edge of the Everglades, east of Fort Myers. An important link in the Okeechobee Waterway, a manmade inland waterway system of southern Florida, the river forms a tidal estuary along most of its course and has become the subject of efforts to restore and preserve the Everglades.

Great Salt Plains Lake

Great Salt Plains Lake is a reservoir located within the Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge in Alfalfa County, Oklahoma in the United States named because of the salt flats in the area and for the Salt Fork Arkansas River, which is dammed to form the lake. It is notable for the variety of birds that are attracted to Ralstin Island and also for the selenite crystals that can be collected along the shoreline. Recent droughts, most notably that of 2011, have had an adverse effect on the future of the lake.

Lake Stanley Draper is a reservoir in southeast Oklahoma City, United States. It is one of three municipal reservoirs in the city. It was constructed in 1962-1963, and named for the long-time director of the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. Located between Midwest Boulevard and Post Road, near I-240, it receives water by pipeline from Atoka Lake and McGee Creek Reservoir.

McGee Creek Reservoir is a reservoir in Atoka County, Oklahoma. It impounds the waters of McGee Creek and several smaller streams, including Potapo, Panther, Little Bugaboo, Bear, Blue, Mill, and Crooked creeks, all of which are tributaries of Muddy Boggy River. According to the Bureau of Reclamation (BuRec), the reservoir was designed to extend 14 miles (23 km) up McGee Creek and 9 miles (14 km) up Potapo Creek when the water is at "conservation level.

Lake Apopka lake in Florida, United States of America

Lake Apopka is the fourth largest lake in the U.S. state of Florida. It is located 15 miles (24 km) northwest of Orlando, mostly within the bounds of Orange County, although the western part is in Lake County. Fed by a natural spring, rainfall and stormwater runoff, water from Lake Apopka flows through the Apopka-Beauclair Canal and into Lakes Beauclair and Dora. From Lake Dora, water flows into Lake Eustis, then into Lake Griffin and then northward into the Ocklawaha River, which flows into the St. Johns River.

Sardis Lake (Mississippi) lake in the United States of America

Sardis Lake is a 98,520-acre (398.7 km2) reservoir on the Little Tallahatchie River in Lafayette, Panola, and Marshall counties, Mississippi. Sardis Lake is impounded by Sardis Dam, located nine miles (14 km) southeast of the town of Sardis. It is approximately an hour drive from Memphis, Tennessee. The dam is 15,300 feet (4,700 m) long, has an average height of 97 feet (30 m), and a maximum height of 117 feet (36 m).

Lake Altus-Lugert lake of the United States of America

Lake Altus-Lugert, also known as Lake Altus and Lake Lugert is a reservoir located on the North Fork Red River, about 17 miles (27 km) north of Altus, Oklahoma on the former site of the town of Lugert, Oklahoma. The river is the boundary between Greer County and Kiowa County, Oklahoma. The lake is used for fishing, boating, swimming, and irrigation. However, toxic blooms of golden algae killed off nearly all adult fish early in 2013, making it unsuitable for fishing, temporarily. Heavy rains in 2015 ended an 8-year drought and refilled the lake with water. This is also the principal water supply for Altus.

Bottomless Lakes State Park state park in New Mexico, United States

Bottomless Lakes State Park is a state park in the U.S. state of New Mexico, located along the Pecos River, about 15 miles (24 km) southeast of Roswell. Established in 1933, it was the first state park in New Mexico. It takes its name from nine small, deep lakes located along the eastern escarpment of the Pecos River valley. The escarpment is an ancient limestone reef, similar to the limestone mountains around Carlsbad Caverns, 80 miles (130 km) to the south. Caves formed within the limestone, and as the Pecos River eroded the escarpment, the caves eventually collapsed, leaving behind several deep, almost circular lakes known as cenotes.

Jayakwadi Dam dam in India

The harsh project is one of the largest irrigation projects in the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is a multipurpose project. The water is mainly used to irrigate agricultural land in the drought-prone Marathwada Region region of the state. It also provides water for drinking and industrial usage to nearby towns and villages and to the municipalities and industrial areas of Aurangabad and Jalna district. The surrounding area of the dam has a garden and a bird sanctuary.

Great Salt Plains State Park

Great Salt Plains State Park is a 840-acre (3.4 km2) Oklahoma state park located in Alfalfa County, Oklahoma. It is located 8 miles (13 km) north of Jet, Oklahoma on SH-38 and 12 miles (19 km) east of Cherokee. Recreational opportunities at Great Salt Plains State Park include boating, camping, picnicking, swimming, hiking, mountain biking and exploring. The Great Salt Plains Lake is located at the park and covers 9,300 acres (38 km2) with 41 miles (66 km) of shoreline and is a shallow, salty lake with fishing opportunities for catfish, saugeye, sandbass and hybrid striper. The average depth is reportedly 4 feet (1.2 m) and the impoundment capacity is 31,420 acre-feet. Salinity of the water in the reservoir is one-fourth that of sea water. Personal watercraft are not recommended. The park has RV and tent sites, comfort stations with showers, cabins, picnic sites, group shelters, swimming beach, playgrounds, boat ramps, fishing dock and equestrian trails. Horse rental is not available.

Hunter Lake is a proposed 3,070-acre (12.4 km2) reservoir to be created by damming Horse Creek, a tributary of the Sangamon River. If the lake is built, its construction would flood a section of bottomland in southeastern Sangamon County, Illinois near the city of Springfield to an elevation of 571 feet above sea level. The lake is a project of City Water, Light & Power, the local municipal electric utility.

The History of Lawton, Oklahoma refers to the history of the southwestern Oklahoma city of Lawton, Oklahoma. Lawton's history starts with opening of American Indian reservation lands in the early 1900s and has seen population and economic growth throughout the 20th Century due to its proximity with Fort Sill.

Lake Palestine lake of the United States of America

Lake Palestine is a freshwater lake in northeast Texas, created for industrial, municipal, and recreational purposes. It is an artificial lake formed in the early 1960s by the construction of the 5720-foot long Blackburn Crossing Dam on the Neches River. The project was started in 1960 and completed on June 13, 1962. The resulting lake is 18 miles long, stretching northwest to southeast, with 135 miles of shoreline. The widest part of the lake is 4 miles across. According to the Texas Water Development Board 2012 Survey, the storage capacity of Lake Palestine is 367,312 acre-feet with a surface area of 23,112 acres at the conservation pool elevation of 345 feet above mean sea level. The drainage area above the dam is approximately 839 square miles.

Lake Hudson (Oklahoma)

Lake Hudson, also known as Markham Ferry Reservoir, is a man-made reservoir in Mayes County, Oklahoma, United States, about 2 miles (3.2 km) northwest of Locust Grove, Oklahoma and 8 miles (13 km) southeast of Pryor, Oklahoma. It was created by the completion of the Robert S. Kerr Dam on the Grand River in 1964. It is managed by the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA).

Morena Dam

Morena Dam is a rockfill dam across Cottonwood Creek, a tributary of the Tijuana River, in southern San Diego County, California in the United States. Originally completed in 1912 and raised several times afterward, the dam is one of the oldest components of the city of San Diego's municipal water system, providing between 1,600 to 15,000 acre feet of water per year. It is one of the few facilities in the San Diego water supply system that relies entirely on local runoff.

Lone Chimney Lake

Lake Lone Chimney owned by the Tri-County Development Authority, is in Pawnee County, Oklahoma, east of Glencoe. The lake, whose dam is also known as Lower Black Bear Creek Watershed Dam 19M, also extends into southern Payne County, Oklahoma. It was built in 1980 by the Tri-County Development Authority, Pawnee County Conservancy District and the Black Bear Conservancy District, assisted by the Oklahoma Conservation Commission and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Watershed Protection and Flood Protection Program.