Lake Travis begins as not much more than a river as it snakes it way from Burnet County through Travis County and onwards toward Austin over 63 miles of Texas Hill Country, widening and deepening as it progresses. It was created with the construction of Mansfield Dam, built from 1937 to 1941 by the Lower Colorado River Authority. One of its primary functions is flood control, with the water level constantly changing depending on the weather and flood conditions. The Mansfield Dam is the only dam in the Highland Lakes that was built specifically to contain the floodwaters of the lower Colorado Basin (up to 260 billion gallons of flood water).
This lake also provides water for the Austin metropolitan area and irrigation water for farmers downstream, generates electricity, and provides water recreation for a number of Central Texans. Lake Travis also boasts some of the clearest water of any of the Highland Lakes.