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Buchanan Dam, 1990 HCEL
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Completion of Buchanan Dam in 1938 was a tremendous achievement, representing the taming of the Colorado River – the largest river wholly in Texas. Buchanan Dam created Lake Buchanan, which is the largest in the Highland Lakes network. The dam is named after U.S. Congressman James Paul Buchanan, then chair of the House Appropriations Committee who secured the federal funding needed to finish the dam after work had stopped following the bankruptcy of the original contractor during the depression.

The construction and completion of Buchanan Dam became a tremendous economic and agricultural stimulus. Moreover, the provision of hydroelectricity reduced dependency on imported and fossil fuels. The act of achieving the design itself - the longest multiple-arch dam in the nation (and at the time it was built, largest in the world), was a testament to and encouragement of American ingenuity even in the face of hard times (the Great Depression). The 11, 200 foot long, 145 foot high arch-and-gravity structure was designed for hydro-electric power and flood control storage. Buchanan Dam contains three turbines that generate 37,500 kilowatts of electricity and has a reservoir capacity of 922,000 acre-feet.

Photo: Jon Lebkowsky from Austin, USA
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