You saw that property listing for your dream home at a Brazos River Authority reservoir. You toured the property, put in your offer and now, you are a new homeowner!
But now what?
Other than the standard home buying processes, there are a couple of things you should know about living on a BRA reservoir, including BRA permits, fluctuating lake levels, BRA amenities located around the lake and more. Let's learn more about lakeside living!
About the Reservoirs
Since you've chosen to live on or near a Brazos River Authority reservoir, you probably know a few things about the lake and the area already. Here is some additional information that will be helpful as you adjust to life on the water.
All three of the BRA reservoirs are water supply reservoirs, which means that they capture and store water during times of plentiful rainfall so that there is available water during times of drought. The BRA provides water for municipalities, agricultural businesses, mining, and more through a state permitting process. There is no flood storage available at any of the three BRA reservoirs.
This means that the levels at Possum Kingdom Lake, Lake Granbury and Lake Limestone will fluctuate for a variety of reasons. Changes in rainfall, water use and even evaporation can cause the lake levels to waver throughout the year. Learn more about why lake levels fluctuate in our informational video that you can watch here.
Our three different reservoirs all offer different amenities, but all provide great places to live. Possum Kingdom Lake, located in Young, Palo Pinto, Stephens, and Jack counties on the main stem of the Brazos River, was the first water supply reservoir constructed by the BRA in the Brazos River basin. Possum Kingdom Lake covers an area of 16,716 acres with 219 miles of shoreline. Possum Kingdom receives millions of recreation visitors annually to participate in activities like fishing, water skiing, scuba diving and to visit our award-winning hike and mountain bike trail system. The lake has 10 public use areas that the BRA owns and operates, with amenities that include public fishing piers, boat ramps, play areas and about 400 campsites. You can view the Lake Regulations for Possum Kingdom here.
Lake Granbury, just downstream of Possum Kingdom Lake on the Brazos River, has 121 miles of shoreline and covers 8,282 acres. The reservoir, along with gorgeous views, has five BRA public access areas for picnicking and fishing and boat launches, with four of the parks offering primitive camping sites. You can view the Lake Regulations for Granbury here.
Lake Limestone is the only BRA reservoir not located on the Brazos River. Rather the reservoir is located on the upper Navasota River in Limestone, Robertson and Leon counties. The lake covers a surface area of 12,553 acres and has 98 miles of shoreline. The BRA operates two public use areas that include amenities for boating, fishing and seasonal waterfowl hunting. You can view the Lake Regulations for Limestone here.
Responsibilities of Living on a Reservoir
Living on or near a BRA reservoir has both privileges and perks, but it also comes with a couple of responsibilities.
The water stored in these reservoirs is most likely the same water that is cleaned and later flows to your home faucets. Maintaining the ecological health of the lake is extremely important to the health and well-being of your community. Properly maintaining septic systems at your home, regularly servicing boat motors and properly disposing of leaves, debris and other items will help insure the reservoir remains safe for drinking water.
Properly constructing and maintaining boat houses, docks and pumps so that they are hazard-free is extremely important.
Depending on your plans for your new property, you may want to make additions to your dock or pump water from the reservoir to irrigate your lawn. All three of the BRA reservoirs allow for on-water facilities, residential-use water and residential improvements.
A permit for an on-water facility or dock allows lakeside property owners the opportunity to construct and maintain private facilities over the reservoir bed. There is a one-time $75 fee for this permit but no annual fee. If you need to make modifications to a pre-existing dock or are transferring a dock to your name after purchasing a property that already has a dock, you will need to fill out this permit.
A residential-use water permit allows lakeside property owners to install water pumps and pipelines to access untreated water supply from the reservoir for irrigation purposes. There is a one-time fee of $25 and an annual fee of $52. The permit allows for up to 60,000 gallons of water to be drawn annually. However, as water levels vary, pump equipment may need to be moved to maintain continuous access to the water supply. Access is not guaranteed in all circumstances.
A residential improvement permit allows lakeside property owners to improve the area adjacent to their property, including constructing a retaining wall along the shoreline, dredging the lake bottom under a dock, removing stumps from the lake bottom and performing maintenance to an existing private boat ramp. There is a one-time $75 fee for this permit, but no annual fee.
There are on-site sewage facility license permits available for Possum Kingdom Lake and Lake Limestone—however, Lake Granbury's on-site sewage facility licenses are available through Hood County.
The forms, fees, and proposed facility sketches (if requesting a new on-water facility) may be delivered in person to the appropriate Lake Office during regular business hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday. The staff at our Lake Offices will be happy to assist you in calculating any of the required fees or answering questions regarding the application process. Construction may not begin until the permit has been approved and returned to you.
To access any of the permit forms, visit www.brazos.org and scroll to the bottom of the page. You'll see a section called "How do I apply for a permit at…" and you'll click on your reservoir.
Moving to a BRA reservoir is an exciting opportunity. Check our or Living Lakeside web pages, or for questions, our Lake Offices' staff members are available to answer any of your questions.