OMAHA, Neb. (KCAU) — Water release rates at Gavins Point Dam will now be reduced to winter rates as the seasonal weather approaches.

According to the release, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began reducing the Gavins Point releases to the winter rates on Nov. 23.

Chief of the Missouri River Basin Water Management Division John Remus stated that Gavins Point Dam is currently releasing water at a rate of 13,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) and they will be slowly reducing releases to 12,000 cfs by Dec. 8.

USACE will closely monitor ice conditions on the Missouri River between reservoirs for potential ice jams as colder winter temperatures enter the basin.

Runoff in the upper Missouri River Basin above Sioux City was 700,000 acre-feet during November, 66% of average. The 2021 calendar year runoff forecast is 15.0 million acre-feet, 58% of average. The average annual runoff is 25.8 MAF.

The total volume of water stored in the Missouri River mainstem reservoirs is currently 48.3 MAF, which is 7.8 MAF below the base of the system flood control storage zone. System storage is forecast to begin the 2022 runoff season at 47.7 MAF, which is 8.4 MAF below the base of the system flood control zone.

Mountain and Plains Snowpack

Mountain snowpack in the upper Missouri River Basin is accumulating at well-below average levels. About 25% of the mountain snowpack typically accumulates by Dec. 1 and normally peaks near April 15.  While the mountain snowpack is currently below average, it is too early in the season to make a projection of the final 2022 mountain snowpack. Additionally, plains snowpack in the upper Missouri River Basin is sparse.

Reservoir Forecasts

  • Gavins Point Dam
    • Average releases past month – 26,300 cfs
    • Current release rate – 14,000 cfs
    • Forecast release rate – 12,000 cfs
    • End-of-November reservoir level – 1207.7 feet
    • Forecast end-of-December reservoir level – 1207.5 feet
    • Notes: Releases were reduced to 14,000 cfs on Nov. 29. The winter release rate will be 12,000 cfs based on the Sept. 1 System storage check and may be adjusted to lessen the impacts of winter ice formation.