Belton Lake (Belton Reservoir) and Belton Dam are on the Leon River, part of the Brazos River basin, three miles north of Belton in northwestern Bell County (at 31°07' N, 97°28' W). The project is owned by the United States government and operated by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District. Construction began in July 1949; the main structure was completed in April 1954, and deliberate impoundment began on March 8, 1954. In 1966 the reservoir had a capacity of 210,600 acre-feet and a surface area of 7,400 acres at the top of the conservation storage space (elevation 569 feet above mean sea level). The reservoir provided 887,000 acre-feet of flood-control storage capacity. The drainage area above the dam was 3,560 square miles. The United States government leased for fifty years all facilities to the Bell County Water Control and Improvement District in January 1956. This district supplies Fort Hood, Killeen, and other areas with water. An additional 113,700 acre-feet of conservation storage space was sold to the Brazos River Authority for $1,602,822 plus operational costs. The authority retained the right to purchase additional storage capacity from the federal government if the conservation storage capacity is enlarged.