Missouri River Winter Water Release Expected to be Minimum

(AP) — Only two years after historic flooding along the Missouri River ravaged parts of Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri, officials are now dealing with what’s shaping up to be one of the river’s driest years. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said on June 3 that the forecast from last month hasn’t changed: Significantly less water is expected to flow into the river this year because conditions remain so dry and snowpack is below normal levels. 

The Corps estimated that 17.9 million acre-feet (22 cubic kilometers) of water will flow into the river this year. That is only about 69% of the average of 25.8 million acre-feet (31.82 cubic kilometers), which would make this year the 22nd driest in the upper basin since 1898.

Currently, the amount of water being released from Gavins Point Dam on the Nebraska-South Dakota border is around 29,500 cubic feet per second and is expected to be about 30,000 cubic feet per second through July 1. But, the Corps said, if runoff remains low, the release would lower about 1,000 cubic feet per second below the full-service levels for the second half of the season.

Based on current runoff forecasts, winter releases from Gavins Point Dam are expected to be at the minimum rate of 12,000 cubic feet per second, the Corps said.

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