is an artificial lake in Texas County, Oklahoma
. The lake is located near the towns of Hardesty
in the Oklahoma Panhandle
. The lake has never reached more than 5 percent of its design capacity, and now is effectively empty. Rapid declines in streamflow (related to large-scale pumping from the High Plains Aquifer
) coincided with the completion of dam construction to make this lake a dramatic example of unanticipated environmental impacts.
The US Army Corps of Engineers states (emphasis added):
Visitors should be aware that the lake's level can be very low. Depending on rainfall and evaporation rates, the lake may offer no water-based recreation and may not be suitable for swimming, fishing, boating or other activities.
- R. Lowitt, 2002. "Optima Dam: A Failed Effort to Irrigate the Oklahoma Panhandle", Agricultural History, 76(2):260-72