The existence of man-made lakes can be traced back to 3000 BC, but those artificial lakes helped in water supply that could be used only for irrigation purposes. Ever since the arrival of hydro-power, some of the biggest dams have been built around the world. It is these dams that have resulted in formation of lakes and reservoirs that now provide waters for electricity, irrigation, recreation and flood management as well.
Here is a list of largest man-made lakes, in terms of surface area:
Covering an impressive 3,275 square miles, Lake Volta is the largest man-made lake ever built in terms of area. The maximum depth in the lake goes up to 246 ft. It was built in 1965 and was formed behind the Akosombo Dam, in the country of Ghana. The lake has proved beneficial for even transportation purposes, as ferries and cargo watercraft use it as a medium. The year round presence of water has led to in-habitation of numerous fishes and large fisheries.
The second largest man-made lake by area, Lake Kariba is also the world’s largest reservoir in terms of volume. After the Kariba dam was completely built, the lake was formed with the flooding of Kariba Gorge located by the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe. Stretched across an area of 2,150 square miles, Lake Kariba has a storage of whopping 44 cubic miles. The lake was formed on a thick layer of fertile soil, which has led to a vibrant ecology. It is home to diverse fish species, particularly tiger fish.
A reservoir formed on the Angara river in Russia, the Bratsk Reservoir covers a surface area of 2,110 square miles. Its construction was complete by 1967, and at that time it was the largest man-made reservoir. The electrical power capacity of the dam is 4,500 MW.
Built in 1971, in the country of Egypt – Aswan High Dam created a lakes that covered 2,030 square miles of area. The Sudan was against its construction when the project was planned because the lake encroached their land in the North, but the water supply of Lake Nasser helped many people. Fish enclosure was also built in the lake, which attracts tourists from around the world for fishing purposes. Cruise ships that run on the lake also provide an amazing view of The statue of Ramses II and many other when near the Abu Simbel Temple.
The dam of Lake Guri was built on Caroni River in Venezuela between the years of 1963 to 1969. It’s opened in 1978, and the capacity or electricity generation was upgraded to 2,065 MW. Since, 74% of electricity comes from hydroelectric power the lake did wonders for the people located in the country. The lake that covers an area of 1,640 square miles, however, has also remained in controversies because its construction destroyed a forest that was home to diverse wildlife.
For the formation of every artificial lake, people living in the nearby areas have to relocate and homes are destroyed. Government needs to ensure that the benefit that comes out of the dam generation is at par with the environment and needs within the country. Each dam creates a man-made lake which helps in water supply and electricity generation, so are the constructions worth the risk? That remains a question struggling with the aspects of urbanization and development of a country.
The table below gives a quick glance on the details about the largest man made lakes:
|Rank||Reservoir||Surface Area (sq miles)||River||Dam||Country||Year|
|1||Lake Volta||3,275||Volta River||Akosombo Dam||Ghana||1965|
|2||Lake Kariba||2,150||Zambezi River||Kariba Dam||Zambia/Zimbabwe||1959|
|3||Bratsk Reservoir||2,110||Angara River||Bratsk Dam||Russia||1964|
|4||Lake Nasser||2,030||Nile River||Aswan High Dam||Egypt||1971|
|5||Lake Guri||1,640||Caroní River||Guri Dam||Venezuela||1978|