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UPPER NUECES RESERVOIR. Upper Nueces Reservoir is in the Nueces River Basin six miles north of Crystal City in central Zavala County (at 28°47' N, 99°50' W). The present dam, known as the Upper Dam, is upstream from an earlier dam and was built by the Zavala and Dimmit Counties Water Improvement District No. 1 for irrigation and water supply. The original dam, built in 1926, was damaged by high water in October 1927 and was repaired. The construction contract for the present earthfill dam was awarded to the Swope Brothers and the present spillway to the engineering group of Terrell Bartlett on October 16, 1947. The project was completed in March 1948. The reservoir has a capacity of 7,590 acre-feet and a surface area of 316 acres at the spillway crest elevation of 598 feet above mean sea level. The drainage area above the dam is estimated to be 2,160 square miles. An important supply of water for the Winter Garden Region, the Upper Nueces Reservoir joins Lake Corpus Christi and Choke Canyon Reservoir as the only three reservoirs of 5,000 acre-feet capacity or more in the Nueces River Basin.


C. L. Dowell, Dams and Reservoirs in Texas: History and Descriptive Information (Texas Water Commission Bulletin 6408 [Austin, 1964]). C. L. Dowell and R. G. Petty, Engineering Data on Dams and Reservoirs in Texas (Texas Water Development Board Report 126 [3 pts., Austin, 1971–74]). Water for Texas, Vol. 1: A Comprehensive Plan for the Future; Vol. 2: Technical Appendix (Austin: Texas Department of Water Resources, 1984).

Seth D. Breeding


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Seth D. Breeding, "UPPER NUECES RESERVOIR," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed March 30, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.