Lake Columbia Frequently Asked Questions

These questions are derived from the public input section of this website, input at public meetings, as well as other means of communication with the general public. The goal is to answer your questions quickly and easily.

The maps section contains maps which overlay property ownership tracts with the reservoir normal and flood pools. While these maps are very good for determining general relationships between the reservoir boundary and individual properties, they are not suitable for establishing the final perimeter of the reservoir. These maps have not been ground truthed by licensed professional surveyors and are subject to change upon verification by survey personnel at the time of final project design. If you believe your property is affected, please contact the Authority for a much more precise determination of the portion of land, if any, which may be impacted by the reservoir.

Land acquisition will not begin until after the US Army Corps of Engineers issues a 404 permit for construction of the reservoir. Following issuance of a permit, the Authority would proceed with contracting with property owners, then surveying and appraisals would begin followed closely by acquisition. We anticipate land acquisition to begin ten to twelve months after the 404 permit is issued.

Lake Columbia is not being built on the Neches River, rather on Mud Creek which is a tributary of the Angelina River. State and local water planners have been developing state and regional water plans since 1997. These water plans show a marked increase in population for Texas, as well as east Texas, which means that more water is needed to meet future demands. Lake Columbia is a new water resource that will be used to meet these growing demands.

PMF refers to the Probable Maximum Flood. This is a flood level which exceeds the 500 year flood event. The PMF is calculated based on a rainfall event of approximately 42 inches of rain over a 72 hour period.

The term acre-foot is a water industry term that is used to measure large volumes of water. An acre-foot is the amount of water that equals one acre of land covered by one foot of water. One acre-foot is approximately 325,851 gallons.

Until purchased by the Authority, the reservoir footprint and surrounding land is privately owned. Any land available for sale would be either through the land owner or carried by an area realtor. Both Cherokee and Smith Counties have area Boards of Realtors or the area Chambers of Commerce could be sources to begin the search.

No. Lake Columbia will be owned and operated solely by the Angelina & Neches River Authority for water supply and recreation purposes.

The Authority will be required by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to complete a new Environmental Impact Statement or EIS as part of their permitting process. It is anticipated the 404 permitting process will take five years. Once the permit is issued, the Authority will enter what is called the “Construction Phase” activities. Construction phase activities will begin with funding, land acquisition, final engineering design and finally commencement of construction. Once we begin the physical construction of the dam, we anticipate a three to five year timeline to complete those activities.

Lake Columbia will be located on Mud Creek primarily in Cherokee County, with the northern limits of the lake extending into southern Smith County. The location of the dam is about 16 river miles upstream of the confluence of Mud Creek with the Angelina River, and about 5 miles southeast of Loop 456 in Jacksonville, Texas.

The primary purpose of Lake Columbia is water supply. It is also expected to provide significant recreational benefits to the five-county area surrounding the lake. Lake Columbia is not, by design, a flood control reservoir, nor is it envisioned to have any hydroelectric capabilities.

It depends on rainfall. If the wettest season were to repeat itself, it would fill in 78 days (based on the runoff that occurred from January 18, 1945 through April 5, 1945). If the driest season was repeated, the reservoir would take 1,468 days to fill (based on runoff that occurred from April 16, 1962 through April 22, 1966)