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About the Authority


This project is located in Louisiana and Texas on the Sabine River, which forms a portion of the boundary between the two states. From the dam site the reservoir extends up the river for about 65 miles to Logansport, Louisiana, and inundates land in Sabine, Shelby, Panola, and Newton Counties, Texas, and Sabine and DeSoto Parishes, Louisiana.

Toledo Bend Reservoir

Toledo Bend Reservoir is the largest man-made body of water in the South and fifth largest in surface acres in the United States, with water normally covering an area of 185,000 acres and having a controlled storage capacity of 4,477,000 acre-feet (1,448,934,927,000 gallons).

Dam and Spillway

The dam consists of a rolled earth fill about 11,250 feet long (including saddle dikes) with a top width of 25 feet. The maximum height of the dam is about 112 feet, with the top of the dam at elevation 185.0. The upstream slope of the embankment is protected from erosion by soil-cement. The overall length of the spillway structure is 838.0 feet and the flow of water over the concrete weir is controlled by eleven 40-by-28 foot tainter gates. Also contained in the spillway structure is an 8.33 by 12 foot low flow sluiceway. The design discharge of the spillway is 290,000 cubic feet per second (2,169,351 gallons per second).

The Purpose

The Toledo Bend Project was constructed by the Sabine River Authority of Texas, and the Sabine River Authority, State of Louisiana, primarily for the purposes of water supply, hydroelectric power generation, and recreation. Benefits will also accrue to navigation as the project will reduce sedimentation and attendant maintenance costs for the downstream navigation channels in the Orange Area.


This project was made possible by the unselfish public interest of the citizens of Texas and Louisiana and the devoted work and effort of the public officials of these states. Many people throughout the years have given unselfishly of their time, abilities, and talents, and through their perseverance Toledo Bend Dam and Reservoir are here. To those who served, this project is dedicated with the sincere gratitude and appreciation of all who shall benefit from and enjoy this monument to progress.

Water Supply

The operation of the project for hydroelectric power generation and water supply provides a dependable yield of 1,868 million gallons per day, which is shared equally by Texas and Louisiana. Most of this water is passed through the turbines for the generation of electric power and is available for municipal, industrial, and agricultural purposes.

Hydroelectric Power

An indoor type hydroelectric power plant is located in the south abutment of the dam. It consists of two vertical units of equal size utilizing Kaplan turbines, rated at 55,750 hp each at a minimum net head of 60.8 feet, and water cooled generators of the umbrella type rated at 42,500 KVA at a 0.95 power factor. It is estimated that the power plan will generate an average of 207,000,000 kilowatt hours annually.


Toledo Bend Reservoir, with its 1200 miles of shoreline, offers an almost unlimited opportunity for recreational development and is a major element in serving the growing demand for water oriented outdoor recreation. Both private and public facilities are available for swimming, boating, picnicking, fishing, camping, hunting, and sightseeing. For more information, please see the Sabine Basin Recreation Guide entry for Toledo Bend.


Rapid industrial development and the changing economy have emphasized the need to utilize more fully the waters of the Sabine River Basin. Prompted by this realization, in 1949 the Texas State Legislature created the Sabine River Authority of Texas, and in 1950 the Louisiana State Legislature created the Sabine River Authority, State of Louisiana. The two Authorities are charged by their respective states with the duties of conserving and developing the waters of the Sabine River for beneficial purposes.

In 1955 the Authorities, acting under a memorandum of agreement, established initial engineering procedures which included the preparation of a Feasibility Report. After the feasibility of the project was established in 1959, the States of Louisiana and Texas arranged for the financing of $30,000,000 in hydroelectric revenue bonds. Land acquisition for the project began in May, 1963, and construction of the dam, spillway, and power plant was initiated in April 1964. The closure section of the earthen embankment and impoundment of water was begun in October 1966. The power plant was completed and began operating in the early part of 1969. Massam-Johnson was the prime contractor for the spillway, embankment, and power plant.

Toledo Bend Reservoir is the nation's only public water conservation and hydroelectric power project to be undertaken without federal participation in its permanent financing.

The Stream

The Sabine River rises in northern Hunt County and eastern Collin and Rockwall Counties in Texas, and flows in an easterly direction to the Texas and Louisiana boundary near Logansport, Louisiana, thence southerly to the Gulf of Mexico at Orange, Texas. The Sabine River drains an area of about 9,700 square miles of which 7,190 square miles are above the Toledo Bend Dam site. The average annual rainfall over the basin upstream from the Toledo Bend Dam site amounts to about 45.5 inches with extremes ranging from a minimum of 32.1 inches in 1936 to a maximum of 74.31 inches in 1975.

Contact Information

Toledo Bend Division - Toledo Bend Reservoir

450 Spur 135
Burkeville, TX 75932
409-565-2338 Fax

Steven Dougharty
Division Manager, sdougharty@sratx.org

See Also

To address comments to the Sabine River Authority of Texas, please contact us.
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