Largest Man-made Lake in the World - Facts and Pictures

Lake versus Artificial Lake

Before jumping to the description of the largest lake in the world, let us first define "What is lake?" and also "What is a manmade lake?" Lake is considerably large body of relatively still water that is surrounded by land area and is also connected to a river which serves to drain or feed it with water the universal solvent. A manmade lake, on the other hand, is created by man and is also known as an artificial lake.

Purpose for the Construction of a Lake

The creation of an artificial lake can be owed to the construction of a dam or some other cause of human interest. Dams, in turn, are constructed for a number of reasons, such as the generation of power; water storage for the irrigation of crops; and water supply. However, such mega structures are also built for the sake of controlling overflows as well as stopping flood waters from causing large scale devastation to crops and property. Quite interestingly, dams also sever the purpose of recreation, and often attract a large pool of tourists from around the globe.

The Largest Artificial Lake

With the surface area of the 5,400 square kilometers, the Lake Kariba is considered to be the largest manmade lake in the world on the basis of the volume of water it contains. Some of the other water bodies that are listed among the largest artificial lakes include Bratsk Reservoir, Volta Reservoir, Manicouagan Reservoir, Lake Guri, and so on. Lying 1300 kilometer upstream from the Indian Ocean, this huge water body has the capacity to hold as much as 180 cubic kilometer of water. Concerning its geographical location, it is found along the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. After the completion of the Kariba Dam, at the northern end, the lake was filled with water from 1958 to 1963, whereupon the Kariba Gorge was flooded on the Zambezi River.

Largest Man-made Lake in the World

Physical Traits

Talking of the physical properties of the Kariba, it stretches across a vast territory measuring 223 and 40 kilometer in length and width, respectively. Though the maximum depth has been found out to be 97 meters, the average depth is 29 meters or 95 feet. It is interesting to note that this largest manmade lake on the planet earth is four times as large as the Three Gorges Dam.

Lake Kariba Facts

  • A whopping 200 billion tons of water has been accommodated by this huge reservoir found in the southern part of the African continent.
  • Owing to the exceptionally huge mass of water, stored in the region, there has been induced artificial seismicity in the seismically active region.
  • The seismicity induced by the Lake Kariba has given rise to more than twenty earthquakes that had the magnitude of greater than 5 on the Richter Scale.
  • Before filling the lake with water, a thick layer of fertile soil was built on the land by burning the existing vegetation, which served as the lake bed.
  • With vibrant ecology, the lake is supporting a thriving commercial fishery as a number of highly demanded fish species have been introduced in the region, notably the sardine like kapenta that has been transported from the Lake Tanganyika.
  • Thriving on the kapenta, the game fish like tiger fish are considered to be one of the indigenous species of the Zambezi River System that are now encouraging tourism in the region.
  • The surrounding countries of the lake, i.e. Zimbabwe and Zambia are now on their way to develop the advanced tourism industry along their respective coasts.
  • The area of the lake that falls within the territorial claim of Zimbabwe has been given the status of a Recreational Park within the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Estate.