A man-made lake is a great place for a quick escape from the city! These lakes are typically created in response to natural disasters, such as hurricanes and floods, or to provide drinking water.
These days, most people make them with an excavator and pumps. In the 1800s, people might have dammed a stream or diverted a river into an empty valley. In 20 years or so, this will be one of the last remaining spots in America where you can find large populations of alligators! Lake Okeechobee is surrounded by Everglades National Park on three sides and has Florida’s widest variety of fish species in its freshwater habitats.
The largest man-made lake in the world, Lake Kariba is located on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. With an area of 9,600 square miles (25,634 km2), it was created by damming the Zambezi River in 1959 to control flooding and provide hydroelectric power to both countries. The vast majority of this water body has no natural inflow or outflow channels; all inflows are supplied by rainfall or rivers feeding into it, while any outflows are through evaporation only.
After the completion of the Owen Falls Dam at the outlet of Lake Victoria by Uganda and Kenya, in 1954, Zambia and Zimbabwe were left with no option but to build their own dams on the Zambezi River. The result of this was a huge new lake almost twice as big as any other man-made reservoir at the time, with a surface area of nearly 25,000 square kilometers (9750 sq miles), which is roughly the size of Wales or Massachusetts.
At its fullest, Lake Kariba holds around 180 cubic kilometers (42 trillion US gallons) of water, but it only takes around 1 centimeter (0.4 inch) of rainfall to raise the lake level by a meter (3 feet).