Water School

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 556,340 acre feet of 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 hydroelectric 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.

If you have questions about a post or would like additional information, please contact us or call 888-922-6272.

calcium contract contaminants reservoirs reservoir parasite water planning insurance pollutants golden algea authority corps industrial smell water treatment well water rights bed and banks brackish septic system precipitation soil canoe industry bay sediment marsh electricity water plants lake levels water code hydrology possum kingdom legislation surface water climate chlorides riparian taste impound lawn cfs landscaping wetland golden algae acre-foot inundated meta tag boating indirect re-use organic gulf effluent permit river municipal basin solids lakes watershed agricultural habitat evaporation beneficial use farming gate water supply flood inland conservation xeriscape salinity E. coli PAM drinking water electric companies hydrologic cycle main stem algae classification depth water cycle water use maps turbidity planning spring jobs tributary governance environmental emergency use stream drought mgd rights canoeing consumption streamflow direct re-use salt wetlands biosolids use runoff mission wildlife ground water releases wastewater clarity measure sludge quality system fertilizer subwatershed Board monitor fishing USGS environment employment map kayak recreation streamflow water storage medicine allens creek reservoir subsidence lake level sewage fish kill septic hunting filter volume dam limestone watercourse subsidence district estuary spillway sanitation supply flood pool water clarity water quality channel rain TCEQ corps of engineers groundwater riverine hydropower dock fork aerobic flood control lake chlorine bottled water minerals camping costs agriculture E coli invasive plants gas oxygen mainstem dissolved solids speaker lake acre-feet hydrilla infection gage appropriation granbury drilling mitigation pharmaceuticals anaerobic aquifer treatment potable