Water School

What is Possum Kingdom Lake?

What is Possum Kingdom Lake?

Possum Kingdom Lake, located on the main stem of the Brazos River northwest of Fort Worth, was the first water supply reservoir constructed in the Brazos River basin. Located in Young, Palo Pinto, Stephens, and Jack counties, the construction of the Morris Sheppard Dam was begun in 1938 and completed in 1941 with the aid of the Works Progress Administration Program.

Possum Kingdom Lake covers an area of 16,716 acres with 219 miles of shoreline. The reservoir holds approximately 750,000 acre feet of water with 540,340 acre feet available as water supply for the Brazos basin. The permitted yield of the reservoir is 230,850 acre feet.  Depth of the reservoir varies with the original terrain of the area and is approximately 100 feet at the dam site.

Named for the United States Senator who was instrumental in obtaining funding for the project, the Morris Sheppard dam is 2,700 feet long and 190 feet high. The dam consists of nine crest "roof weir" type gates, each approximately 74 feet long and 13 feet high for the passage of floodwaters. Each gate passes approximately 9,600 cubic feet per second (cfs) of water when open.

The Morris Sheppard Dam was constructed as a hydro electric generating facility with two 11,250 kilowatt generators. Categorized as a "peaking plant," the generators supplied electricity during high demand periods from 1941 to 2007 when the generators were shut down. The plant was decommissioned in 2013.

Possum Kingdom receives an estimated three million visitors annually. Major activities on the reservoir include fishing, water skiing, and scuba diving. The reservoir has public fishing piers, seven public boat ramps, public access areas for picnicking, and a total of 400 primitive camp sites.

To view a copy of the Possum Kingdom Lake permit, click here.




The information provided on this site is intended as background on water within the Brazos River basin. There should be no expectation that this information is all encompassing, complete or in any way examines every aspect of this very complex natural resource.

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