Missouri River Water Management – April Update

01 May 2019 11:33 AM | Glenda Johnson (Administrator)

Higher flows in the lower basin expected to continue.  Releases from Gavins Point Dam are expected to be held at 55,000 cubic feet per second through the end of April into May as the mainstem reservoirs continue to rise from plains snowmelt and rainfall runover increases.  The System storage within the six mainstem reservoirs is 64.7 million-acre feet (MAF) of storage with 16.3 MAF allocated to flood control and multiple use such as navigation support and water supply.  As of 26 April 2019, 8.3 MAF of that flood control storage is occupied with about 47% of the storage available to store runoff through the spring and summer months (see graphic).  

The National Weather Service (NWS) reported that the plains snowpack remains light across North and South Dakota as it begins to provide runoff and inflow to the upper reservoirs.  The mountain snowpack appears to have peaked at approximately 98% of normal as we move into May.  Inflow from runoff from snowmelt is expected to continue to increase and be captured as flood storage.   The Corps reports that waters stored in the exclusive flood control pools at reservoir projects in the middle of the system limits the flexibility for reducing flood risk from upstream or downstream rain events. The Corps is maintaining releases higher than inflows at Oahe, and Fort Randall Dams to gain more flood control storage space in those reservoirs.

Flows to the lower basin are expected to continue to be high as Gavins Point releases upstream runoff to the lower basin.  Gavins Point releases are forecasted to remain steady at 55,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) over the next three weeks to continue evacuating runoff from the spring plains snowmelt stored in those mid-system projects.  As a result of flow releases into the System and rainfall in the lower basin, river elevations are expected to remain above flood stage at minor flood levels from Portsmouth, NE to Waverly, MO.  The Corps and the NWS continues to monitor inflow, releases and rainfall within the System and to the lower basin to address potential flooding; however, fluctuations to river stages downstream from Gavins Point are possible due to rain events occurring downstream from Gavins Point.   MOARC continues to monitor flow conditions in the lower basin and the concerns as river levels remain against the regional levees.

MOARC Association
PO Box 22647
Kansas City, MO 64113

MOARC promotes the beneficial use of water and land related resources for the Missouri and associated rivers in the areas of    
Agriculture, Environment, Flood Damage Reduction, Navigation, Recreation, Shipping and Ports, Power, Water Quality and Supply.   

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