Lakes (al-Buhayrat) was one of the ten states of South Sudan. It has an area of 40,235 km². Rumbek was the capital of the state. Lakes was in the Bahr el Ghazal region of South Sudan, in addition to Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Western Bahr el Ghazal, and Warrap states. Bahr el Ghazal itself was a former province which was split from the Anglo-Egyptian mudiriyat, or province of Equatoria in 1948. The eastern border was the White Nile with Jonglei on the opposite bank. To the northeast lied the Unity State. Other borders included Warrap State towards the northwest, Western Equatoria to the south and west, and Central Equatoria to the south.
In July 2011, Ramciel in Lakes state was under consideration by the federal government as a site for a new national capital, which would replace Juba.
Like all states in South Sudan, Lakes was divided into counties; there were eight counties, each headed by a County Commissioner.
The counties are further divided into Payams, then Bomas.