OMAHA, Neb. (KCAU) — Releases at Gavins Point Dam will be at the minimum service for the summer flow support due to dry conditions.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) reported that runoff into the upper Missouri River Basin was down 49% of what is normal for the month of April, with 1.5 million-acre feet (MAF). With the month’s report, the yearly forecast of runoff is 17.8 MAF, which is 69% of the yearly average. If the forecast holds true, 2022 would rank as the 23rd lowest volume of runoff.
Storage for the system is 7.8 MAF below the base of flood control, sitting at a total of 48.3 MAF. As of the end of April, the Gavins Point reservoir was sitting at 1206.8 feet.
“Despite recent snow and rainfall events, 84% of the upper Basin continues to experience abnormally dry conditions. Current drought conditions, dry soils, and below-normal mountain snowpack, resulted in the below-average 2022 calendar year runoff forecast,” said Corps Chief John Remus of the Missouri River Basin Water Management Division.
The release states that, based on the NOAA Climate Prediction Center, there are chances for cooler and wetter conditions in May, which would provide more moisture to the area. They note that long-range forecasts of the summer months show possible conditions be warmer and drier than normal.
With the below-average storage and to conserve water, releases at Gavins Point Dam for navigation flow support will be at the minimum, affecting locations further down the river. The minimum flow support range for these locations ranges from 25,000 cubic feet per second (CFS) at Sioux City and 35,000 CFS at Kansas City.
Flow support for later in the summer will be decided on the system storage on July 1. Based on the forecast of the year though, flow support may be at minimum service with the flow support ending two weeks early.
Releases at Gavins Point Dam are currently at 22,000 CFS with a forecasted release rising to 22,500 CFS. The average releases for the past month were 24,200 CFS. In addition, release at the Fort Randall Dam will be adjusted to maintain the necessary reservoir elevation at Gavins Point.
For the month of April, the six power plants on the upper Missouri River Basin generated 662 million kWh of electricity. Normally, 700 kWh of energy is generated during April.