5 of the World’s Largest Man-Made Lakes

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5 of the largest man made lakes

When dams are built, they create man-made lakes or reservoirs.

These dams and resulting lakes are important to society as they provide areas with water for drinking, farming irrigation, hydroelectric power generation, and flood management.

While none of the world’s five largest reservoirs are located in the United States, it is interesting to take note just how big these completely man-made bodies of water are.

For comparison purposes, the following list contains the square mileage of several of the lakes in the footprint:

Smith Lake, AL: 33 square miles
Lake Lanier, GA: 59 square miles
Lake Murray, SC: 77 square miles
Tellico Lake, TN: 24 square miles
Lake Hartwell,GA/SC: 87 square miles
Kerr Lake NC/VA: 78 square miles
Lake Marion SC173 square miles

Guri Reservoir

guri reservoir with rushing water

The Guri Dam is located in the Bolivar State in Venezuela. Built on the Caroni River, the dam was opened in 1978.

The Guri Reservoir has a surface area of more than 1,640 square miles.

This dam has a power station that includes 21 turbines with the capacity of producing 10,235 megawatts of energy. It has an annual generation of approximately 47,000 gigawatts.

Lake Nasser 

serene lake nasser during the day

Lake Nasser is a reservoir located in the south of Egypt. The lake is approximately 341 miles long and 22 miles wide at its widest part.

This man-made lake has the surface area of 2,030 square miles. The deepest part of this lake measures 600 feet.

The majority of the lake lies in Egypt, but a section of the reservoir is also located in Sudan . The Sudanese refer to the body of water as Lake Nubia.

Bratsk Reservoir

The Bratsk Reservoir was constructed in Russia, on the Angara River, in 1967. This enormous body of water covers more than 2,110 square miles and is named after the nearby city of Bratsk.

the bratsk reservoir in russia located on the angara river

Lake Kariba

lake kariba, Zimbabwe sunset

Lake Kariba is the world’s largest man-made lake by volume, but not by surface area.

The reservoir covers 2,150 square miles and is approximately 140 miles long by 20 miles wide.

Lake Kariba is located between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Studies have shown that the massive amount of water even caused seismic activity in the area, resulting in several earthquakes!

Lake Volta

lake volta located in ghana during the day

Lake Volta is located in Ghana and was built in 1965.

This enormous body of water covers a whopping 3,275 square miles and is bigger than the land area of Rhode Island and Delaware combined!

Lake Marion, one of the largest lakes in the South, could fit into the same area almost 20 times over!

There are, of course, bigger lakes by volume, as well as much larger naturally occurring lakes, but when it comes to man-made lakes and areas that they cover, these five take the top spots!

You might also enjoy: Top 5 American Lakes with the Highest Elevation

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Glenn S. Phillips is the CEO of Lake Homes Realty. He is also an author and speaker. When not thinking about real estate and technology, he periodically plays his ugly tuba (complete with a bullet hole), enjoys exploring cognitive thinking, and prefers dark chocolate.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Muntasir January 9, 2017 at 10:50 am

Kaptai Lake in Bangladesh is way larger than the above mentioned lakes. It’s total catchment area is 4,294 mi²


Zeddie Gudza June 26, 2020 at 12:16 pm

Kariba is the largest by volume not surface area.


Glen February 7, 2017 at 2:32 pm

Would be delightful if metric was used on these sites. Who uses miles still?


Matt Dudley March 21, 2017 at 8:58 pm

The english


Joar June 12, 2017 at 10:19 pm

Blåsjø in Norway is 3 261square miles. Get your lists right


Robyn January 11, 2020 at 8:35 pm

Apparently it only covers 82 kilometres.


muthuveerappan September 14, 2018 at 6:53 pm

Rajendra Chola built a vast artificial lake, near Gangaikonda Cholapuram


Cal Baker December 13, 2018 at 8:35 pm

The Smallwood Reservoir is a large reservoir located in the western part of Labrador in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. The reservoir is …
Basin countries‎: ‎Canada Surface area‎: ‎6,527 km2 (2,520 sq mi)
Location‎: ‎Labrador‎, ‎Newfoundland and Labra… Surface elevation‎: ‎471 m (1,545 ft)


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