Bivins Lake

By: Seth D. Breeding

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: November 1, 1994

Bivins Lake, also known as Amarillo City Lake, is an artificial reservoir formed by a dam on Palo Duro Creek ten miles southwest of Amarillo in western Randall County (35°02' N, 102°02' W). It is owned and operated by the city of Amarillo to recharge the groundwater reservoir that supplies the city's well field. The project was started in 1926, completed a year later, and named for Lee Bivins. It has a capacity of 5,120 acre-feet and a surface area of 379 acres at the spillway crest elevation 3,634.7 feet above mean sea level. Water is not diverted directly from the lake, but the water in storage recharges, by infiltration, a series of ten wells that are pumped for the city supply. Because runoff is insufficient to keep the lake full, on several occasions there has been no storage. The drainage area above the dam measures 982 square miles, of which 920 square miles are probably noncontributing. The lake is located in flat to rolling country with local escarpments and a surface of fine sandy loams that support brush and grasses.

Duane F. Guy, ed., The Story of Palo Duro Canyon (Canyon, Texas: Panhandle-Plains Historical Society, 1979). Mrs. Clyde W. Warwick, comp., The Randall County Story (Hereford, Texas: Pioneer, 1969).

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

Seth D. Breeding, “Bivins Lake,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 23, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994