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Posted 10/5/2018

Release no. 18-111


OMAHA, NE – Higher-than-average releases from all Missouri River Mainstem System projects, including Gavins Point, will continue through the fall. “Due to this year’s high runoff and the water currently being stored in the reservoirs, Gavins Point releases will remain near 58,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) for the remainder of the navigation season to ensure evacuation of all stored flood waters prior to the 2019 runoff season with much of that occurring before the river freezes over in the northern reaches,” said John Remus, Chief of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Missouri River Basin Water Management Division.

The 2018 runoff forecast in the Missouri River Basin above Sioux City, Iowa is 40.6 million acre feet, 160 percent of average. The September runoff summation above Sioux City was 1.7 MAF, 151 percent of average. The September runoff above Gavins Point Dam was about 80 percent of average. Due to heavy September rainfall, the runoff in the unregulated reach from Gavins Point Dam to Sioux City was 0.8 MAF, which is about eight times the average September runoff, and the highest September runoff in 120 years of record-keeping (1898-2017).

The Missouri River Mainstem reservoir system storage was 62.2 MAF as of October 1, occupying 6.1 MAF of the 16.3 MAF flood control zone. “System storage declined 2.5 MAF in September and will continue to gradually decline in October,” said Remus.

System storage peaked on July 8 at 68.4 MAF, occupying 12.3 MAF of the designated 16.3 MAF of flood control storage. “Reservoir releases will be adjusted as necessary to provide downstream flood risk reduction and continue evacuation of stored flood water,” said Remus. It is important to note that the ability to significantly reduce flood risk along the lower Missouri River diminishes at locations further downstream due to the large uncontrolled drainage area and the travel time from Gavins Point Dam.

Based on the September 1 System storage, winter releases from Gavins Point will be at least 17,000 cfs. Based on the latest reservoir studies, there will be a 10-day extension to navigation flow support and a Gavins Point winter release ranging from 17,000 to 22,000 cfs depending on runoff. Navigation flow support at the mouth of the Missouri River will end on December 11.

Weekly updates on basin conditions, reservoir levels and other topics of interest can be viewed here: http://www.nwd-mr.usace.army.mil/rcc/reports/pdfs/weeklyupdate.pdf.

The Corps will continue to monitor basin and river conditions and will adjust System regulation based on the most up-to-date information.

Public Meetings
The 2018-2019 draft Annual Operating Plan for the Missouri River Mainstem System was posted in September at: http://www.nwd.usace.army.mil/MRWM/Public-Meetings/

Fall public meetings will be held in six cities throughout the basin in early November. These meetings will include a presentation regarding 2018 operations and plans for regulating the reservoir system in 2019, followed by a question and answer session. The public meetings will be conducted at the times and locations listed below.

 

 Tuesday, Nov. 6  Wednesday, Nov. 7  Friday, Nov. 9

Tuesday, Nov. 6 – Fort Peck, MT

  • Start time: 11 a.m. (MST)
  • Fort Peck Interpretative Center
  • Lower Yellowstone Rd.

Tuesday, Nov. 6 – Bismarck, ND

  • Start time: 6 p.m. (CST)
  • Bismarck State College,
    NECE Bldg.15, Rm 304
  • 1200 Schafer Street, Bismarck ND

Wednesday, Nov. 7 – Pierre, SD

  • Start time: 10 a.m. (CST)
  • Casey Tibbs Conference Center
  • 210 Verendrye Drive, Ft. Pierre, SD

Wednesday, Nov. 7 – Sioux City, IA

  • Start time: 4 p.m. (CST)
  • Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center
  • 300 3rd St.

Friday, Nov. 9 – Smithville, MO

  • Start time: 11 a.m. (CST)
  • Paradise Point Golf Course 
  • 18212 Golf Course Rd

Friday, Nov. 9 – Nebraska City, NE

  • Start time: 4 p.m. (CST)
  • Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center
  • 100 Valmont Drive

Reservoir Forecasts

  • Gavins Point Dam releases averaged 56,100 cfs during September. Releases will remain near 58,000 cfs during October, downstream conditions permitting. The Gavins Point reservoir ended September at elevation 1207.6 feet. The reservoir will end October near 1207.5 feet.
  • Fort Randall Dam releases averaged 52,600 cfs in September. Releases will be adjusted as necessary to maintain the desired reservoir elevation at Gavins Point. Releases are being made from both the powerhouse and outlet tunnels. The reservoir ended September at elevation 1352.6 feet, falling 4.6 feet during the month. The reservoir will gradually fall to near 1345.0 feet during October. The reservoir is normally drawn down to 1337.5 feet in the fall to provide space for winter hydropower generation at Oahe and Big Bend. The annual drawdown will continue through November. 
  • Big Bend Dam releases averaged 43,200 cfs in September. Releases are expected to average 46,100 cfs and the reservoir will remain near is normal elevation of 1420.0 feet during October. 
  • Oahe Dam releases averaged 47,800 cfs during September. Releases are expected to average 45,500 cfs in October. Releases will continue to be made from both the powerhouse and the outlet tunnels. Releases from the outlet tunnels are required due to scheduled maintenance on the hydropower units and the need to continue evacuating stored runoff. The reservoir ended September at elevation 1614.0 feet, decreasing 1.9 feet during the month. Levels will continue to decline during October with a projected end-of-month elevation near 1611.0 feet. 
  • Garrison Dam releases were stepped down from 46,000 to 31,000 cfs during September averaging 37,300 cfs during the month. Releases will be reduced to 29,000 in early October. The reservoir ended September at 1843.5 feet, down 3.0 feet during the month. The reservoir is expected to continue falling ending October near 1841.3 feet. 
  • Fort Peck Dam releases averaged 14,300 cfs during September. Releases were reduced to 12,000 cfs in mid-September and will remain at 12,000 cfs during October. Due to scheduled maintenance on the hydropower units, releases are currently being made through the powerhouse and spillway. The reservoir ended September at elevation 2241.4 feet, declining 2.1 feet during the month. The reservoir is expected to continue falling ending October at 2239.6 feet.

The forecast reservoir releases and elevations discussed above are not definitive. Additional precipitation, lack of precipitation or other circumstances could cause adjustments to the reservoir release rates.

The six mainstem power plants generated 1,222 million kWh of electricity in September. Typical energy generation for September is 895 million kWh. The power plants are projected to generate 12.6 billion kWh of electricity this year, compared to the long-term average of 9.3 billion kWh.

To view the detailed three-week release forecast for the mainstem dams, go to http://www.nwd-mr.usace.army.mil/rcc/reports/twregfcast.pdf.

MISSOURI RIVER MAINSTEM RESERVOIR DATA

Pool Elevation
(feet above mean sea level)

Water in Storage
(1,000 acre-feet)

 

On September 30

Change in September

On September 30

% of 1967-2017 Average

Change in September

 

2241.4

-2.1

16,406

114

-496

 

1843.5

-3.0

19,689

111

-1,013

 

1614.0

-1.9

20,802

118

-673

 

1421.1

+0.7

1,690

99

+34

 

1352.6

-4.6

3,204

96

-390

 

1207.5

+0.4

364

92

+12

 

 

Total

62,155

112

-2,526

 


WATER RELEASES AND ENERGY GENERATION FOR SEPTEMBER

 

Average Release in 1,000 cfs

Releases in 1,000 acre-feet

Generation in Million kWh

Fort Peck

14.3

849

106

Garrison

37.3

2,221

323

Oahe

47.8

2,843

397

Big Bend

43.2

2,571

152

Fort Randall

52.6

3,130

166

Gavins Point

56.1

3,337

78

 

Total

1,222

 

WATER RELEASES AND ENERGY GENERATION FOR SEPTEMBER

 

Average Release in 1,000 cfs

Releases in 1,000 acre-feet

Generation in Million kWh

Fort Peck

14.3

849

106

Garrison

37.3

2,221

323

Oahe

47.8

2,843

397

Big Bend

43.2

2,571

152

Fort Randall

52.6

3,130

166

Gavins Point

56.1

3,337

78

 

Total

1,222