Protecting Our Water
Big Creek Lake
Big Creek Lake is a 3,600 acre man made reservoir that provides drinking water for the Mobile area. Built in 1952, the Lake, also known as J.B. Converse Reservoir, holds 17 billion gallons of water and is continually fed by streams, creeks and groundwater in western Mobile County.
The Lake and surrounding watershed are home to a variety of fish and wildlife including threatened species such as the gopher tortoise, eastern indigo snake and red-cockaded woodpecker.
To protect this valuable resource from encroaching development, MAWSS owns and manages 9,000 acres of land surrounding the Lake to act as a buffer. This land is used to grow long leaf pine, a sturdy slow growing variety of tree that contributes to water quality protection and serves as an ideal habitat for the species mentioned. Timber sales are used to purchase additional property as it becomes available.
An additional layer of protection for our drinking water was achieved with a $1.1 million capital project that added retractable screens to the Gaillard Pumping Station. On a daily basis, these screens remove floating vegetation from the Lake, preventing it from clogging the pumping station, but they can also be used to stop contaminants like oil from entering the water intake. View our video to learn more.
Photos show the construction of Big Creek Lake and spillway in 1952. The Lake was formed by impounding Big Creek, which flows into the Escatawpa River. Photos courtesy of the Howell Family.
Read more about the History of MAWSS.