Top Man-Made Lakes in the World

Freshwater or saltwater lakes might be beautiful in their natural state, but man-made ones can be a wondrous sight as well. The goal of these lakes was not to compete with Mother Nature, though. They were formed either by design or by accident.

For most man-made lakes, though, there are quite sound purposes behind their formation. This could be for practical purposes, such as to irrigate the land, provide water supply, generate electricity, or control overflows. Many lakes were also created for recreational activities, such as boating or surfing. Whatever the reason was, it’s worth knowing about the top man-made lakes the world has to offer. We’ll discuss some of them below:

Lake Kariba

Lake Kariba is found on the Zimbabwe-Zambia border. It’s the biggest man-made lake and reservoir in terms of volume, holding about 180 cubic kilometers (43 cubic feet) of water. It has a maximum length of 223 kilometers (139 miles), a maximum width of 40 kilometers (25 miles), and an average depth of 95 feet (29 meters). Along with being a scenic location, its main purpose is that of a hydroelectric reservoir.

This lake is the largest man-made one in the world, but only by volume. The surface area of Bratsk Reservoir surpasses it by far. While this reservoir might be of great use to the people, it’s actually caused some serious problems. These include seismic activity, which has led to several earthquakes in the area.

Lake Kariba

Bratsk Reservoir

The Bratsk Reservoir is a hydroelectric reservoir in Russia that spans across Irkutsk Oblask in Russia. The lake was built on the Angara River in 1967. When the Bratsk Reservoir was completed, it became the largest man-made lake in the world. It’s an enormous body of water, having a surface area of 5,470 square kilometers (2,110 square miles). The name ‘Bratsk’ comes from a city nearby, which bears the same title.

Zeya Reservoir

The Zeya Reservoir is one of the most picturesque artificial lakes in the world. It creates the Zeya Dam, which was built on the Zeya River and inaugurated in 1975. This enormous lake covers the surface at 2,420 square kilometers (934 square miles). The depth is kept regulated, and usually measures 93 meters or 305 feet.

The dam itself is a concrete gravity version, containing 6 hydro-turbines. 4 of these have a capacity of 225 megawatts, and the remaining has a capacity of 215 megawatts. The reservoir is actually separated from the dam itself by a valley that measures 40 feet long.

Lake Volta

Lake Volta or Volta Reservoir is found along Akosombo Dam, in Ghana, West Africa. This reservoir was constructed in 1965. It is a huge lake, covering a staggering 8,502 square kilometers (3,283 square miles)! This makes it larger than Delaware and Rhode Island put together.

Another way to understand the size of this lake is to look at Lake Marion, which is a natural body of water. It’s among the largest lakes in South Carolina and the United States in general. However, Lake Marion is about 20 times smaller than Lake Volta.

Lake Nasser

Another vast man-made lake in Africa is Lake Nasser, which spans from northern Egypt to South Sudan. It has a maximum length of 550 kilometers (340 miles) and stretches up to 35 kilometers (22 miles) wide. Egypt takes a major chunk of this reservoir, while Sudan has a small section of the lake which the people refer to as Lake Nubia. The surface area of this lake is around 2,030 square miles. At its deepest, it’s around 600 feet.

Lake Guri

Another one of the most beautiful man-made lakes is Lake Guri, which was created on the Caroni River, Venezuela. It covers 4,200 square kilometers (1,621 square miles) and creates the Guri Dam. This dam is in the state of Bolivar, Venezuela. It was opened back in 1978.

The dam’s power station has 21 turbines, which in turn have a capacity of 10,235 megawatts. Annually, it generates 47,000 gigawatts of energy for the population.

Krasnoyarsk Lake

Also known as the Krasnoyarsk Sea, the Krasnoyarsk Lake was created by Krasnoyarsk Dam. This beautiful lake is the second biggest man-made reservoir, after the Bratsk Reservoir. It covers 2,300 square kilometers and can be as deep as 121 feet (37 meters). The widest point of this lake could be up to 15 meters.

This reservoir contains many major lakes, while there are several settlements nearby as well. Its top point is in Abakan, a Russian town.  At the lower point is the electric power dam. Until the last part of the 20th century, there used to be a hydrofoil on the reservoir for carrying people. Now, there’s a ferry system in place so that the natives of the area can get to and fro on the lake.

Manicouagan Reservoir

Also a gorgeous man-made lake, the Manicouagan Reservoir is located in central Quebec, Canada and is currently the world’s fourth biggest lake. When seen from a bird’s-eye view, this lake forms a circle, which is widely believed to have been caused by a meteor impact. This makes the Manicouagan Reservoir a unique experience, which also attracts many people.

The lake and the island in the middle of it can even be seen from space. In fact, they’re usually referred to as the ‘eye of Quebec’. Some meteorologists even believe that the creation of this reservoir was the result of multiple meteor impacts.

However, the circular shape was completed through the addition of the dam, which resulted in the two lakes around the island joining up. This is the Rene-Levasseur Island and is the second largest lake island in the world. The crater itself is the fifth largest.


For those who are too far away from the sea or want a safer and more convenient option, man-made lakes are quite a logical choice. These don’t have many crashing waves or high tides, so many families might actually prefer a lake rather than the seaside. They also possess some gorgeous scenery, which means they’re an attraction for tourists and natives alike.