Is Lake Norman really the “largest man-made lake in the world, by far,” as President Trump asserted during a trip to Charlotte on Friday?
Well, no, by far.
The Duke Energy-managed reservoir north of Charlotte, filled in 1963, is indeed large. It covers 32,510 acres and has 520 miles of shoreline. NCPedia.org calls it the biggest man-made lake lying entirely in North Carolina.
Lake Mattamuskeet, totaling 40,100 acres on the state’s coastal plain, is the largest natural lake, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says.
The president might have some reason to think well of Lake Norman. It’s the home of his Trump National Golf Club.
“I actually have investments in Charlotte,” he told an audience at Central Piedmont Community College’s Harris Conference Center on Friday after congratulating the city on winning the 2020 Republican National Convention.
“They’ll say, oh, that’s a conflict of interest,” Trump continued. “Fake news, they’ll say this is a conflict of interest. You know where my club is, right? Trump National. It’s a very big success on Lake Norman. Beautiful. Largest man-made lake in the world by far, right?”
In fact, Lake Norman doesn’t even crack the list of the 10 largest U.S. reservoirs, says Tata & Howard, a Massachusetts-based engineering firm that designs dams. Nevada’s Lake Mead, the largest on that list, holds 25 times more water than Lake Norman.
Globally, Lake Kariba along the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe is the world’s biggest based on water storage capacity, Water-Technology.net and WorldAtlas.com report. NASA’s Earth Observatory, however, calls Kariba only one of the largest artificial reservoirs.