How Deep is Amistad Reservoir in Texas?

Written by Colby Maxwell
Updated: June 2, 2023
Share on:


Texas is a huge state and, subsequently, is home to a ton of bodies of water. There are man-made lakes, reservoirs, natural lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams. These bodies of water in Texas play a crucial role in the ecological stability of the region.

Additionally, they provide water, recreation, and flood control for the people in the surrounding area. Today, we are focusing on one of the reservoirs in Texas, the Amistad Reservoir. Let’s explore this manmade lake, as we ask ourselves questions like, “How deep is Amistad Reservoir in Texas?”

The Depth and Size of the Amistad Reservoir in Texas

Amistad Reservoir

The name of the Amistad Reservoir, which means “friendship” in Spanish, represents cooperation between the United States and Mexico.


The Amistad Reservoir is a large body of water located on the Rio Grande in Texas. It is a popular destination for recreational activities such as boating, fishing, and swimming. It’s also an important source of water for the region. The reservoir has a surface area of 64,900 acres and a maximum depth of 217 feet. This vast and expansive body of water also has a water volume of 5,658,600 and a surface elevation of 1,117 feet. The sheer size of the lake gives it the title of the fifth largest lake in the state. It comes right after Lake Texoma (4), Falcon Reservoir (3), Sam Rayburn Reservoir (2), and Toledo Bend Reservoir (1).

The name of the Amistad Reservoir, which means “friendship” in Spanish, reflects its importance as a place of cooperation and partnership between the United States and Mexico. The Amistad dam formed the reservoir. This important structure impounds the Rio Grande and the Devils River, along with the surrounding areas. The United States and Mexico jointly manage the dam.

Where is Amistad Reservoir in Texas?

The Amistad Reservoir is located in a unique and strategic area, spanning both the United States and Mexico. On the American side of the border, the lake is located in Val Verde County, Texas. On the Mexican side, it spans the state of Coahuila. The Amistad Dam, which forms the reservoir, is located approximately 12.8 river miles above Del Rio and Ciudad Acuña.

These cities are located in Texas and Mexico, respectively. The Rio Grande forms the national border between the US and Mexico. Following the lake north to the Rio Grande traces the border between the two countries. If traveling north along the center of the river, Mexico is on the left and Texas is on the right.

The American shoreline of the Amistad Reservoir forms the Amistad National Recreation Area. The National Park Service manages this area.

Where is Amistad Reservoir Located on a Map?

Situated 12 miles northwest of Del Rio, Texas, Amistad Reservoir is a reservoir formed at the confluence of the Rio Grande and the Devils River.

Here is Amistad Reservoir on a map:

The History of the Amistad Reservoir

The Amistad Reservoir has a rich and fascinating history that dates back centuries. The area now covered by the lake was once inhabited by Indigenous Americans. They left behind numerous cave paintings and artifacts. After the Mexican-American War, American pioneers such as John Coffee Hays traveled through the region, developing a reliable road from San Antonio to El Paso.

In 1944, the United States and Mexico signed a treaty. The treaty proposed the construction of a major dam and reservoir on the Rio Grande. The Amistad Dam was built to serve several purposes. It was used as a source of flood control, water conservation, irrigation, hydroelectric power, and recreation. Construction on the dam began in December 1964 and was completed in November 1969. They filled the reservoir, flooding a series of valleys around the confluence of the Rio Grande and the Devils River.

Today, the International Boundary and Water Commission manages the Amistad Dam and Reservoir. This organization was established in 1889 to maintain the border, allocate river waters, and manage flood control and water sanitation. The commission plays a vital role in the maintenance of the reservoir, ensuring that it continues to serve the needs of the region and its people.

The Wildlife of Amistad Reservoir

Largemouth bass underwater in lake

The lake is stocked with species of fish, such as largemouth bass, that are intended to improve the reservoir for recreational fishing.


The Amistad Reservoir is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including fish, birds, and other animals. The lake is stocked with species of fish that are intended to improve the reservoir for recreational fishing. These include largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, Guadalupe bass, and catfish. There is also a significant amount of vegetation in the lake, specifically, hydrilla.

Unfortunately, the Amistad Reservoir has also been the cause of a tragic loss of wildlife. The Amistad gambusia, a fish species that was endemic to the area, was eliminated when the reservoir was filled. The reservoir submerged Goodenough Spring, the Amistad gambusia’s only habitat, under about 70 feet of water.

Despite efforts to save the species, two captive populations did not survive, and the fish was declared officially extinct by 1987. This loss serves as a reminder of the importance of protecting and preserving the natural world.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Alexander Imperial/

Share on:
About the Author

Colby is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering outdoors, unique animal stories, and science news. Colby has been writing about science news and animals for five years and holds a bachelor's degree from SEU. A resident of NYC, you can find him camping, exploring, and telling everyone about what birds he saw at his local birdfeeder.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.