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Reduced releases from Gavins Point to address water supply concerns

Northwestern Division
Published Jan. 21, 2020
System storage is 56.1 MAF; all 16.3 MAF of flood control storage is available.
Mountain snowpack continues to accumulate at near average rates (upper right quadrant).
Plains snowfall over the past week has led to increased accumulations in central and eastern North and South Dakota (lower right quadrant). Up to 5 inches of snow water equivalent (SWE) are present in some areas.
Widespread trace amounts of SWE are present in Montana, western North and South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa. More snow is forecast this week.
The Gavins Point release is currently 30,000 cfs. Releases will be reduced to 27,000 cfs tomorrow morning to help stabilize the reservoir elevation at Gavins Point.

System storage is 56.1 MAF; all 16.3 MAF of flood control storage is available. Mountain snowpack continues to accumulate at near average rates (upper right quadrant). Plains snowfall over the past week has led to increased accumulations in central and eastern North and South Dakota (lower right quadrant). Up to 5 inches of snow water equivalent (SWE) are present in some areas. Widespread trace amounts of SWE are present in Montana, western North and South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa. More snow is forecast this week. The Gavins Point release is currently 30,000 cfs. Releases will be reduced to 27,000 cfs tomorrow morning to help stabilize the reservoir elevation at Gavins Point.

Releases from Gavins Point Dam will be reduced to 27,000 cubic feet per second on Wednesday, Jan. 22.

Since increasing releases to 30,000 cfs on Jan. 7, the total storage at Gavins Point Dam has declined by 124,000 acre feet with the pool elevation dropping from 1207.7 feet to 1201.9 feet.

“The pool level fluctuations at Gavins Point Dam have led to concerns that the lower pool level may affect access to water at some municipal water intakes on Lewis and Clark Lake,” said John Remus chief of the Missouri River Water Management Division.

Total system storage reached the base of the Annual Flood Control and Multiple Use of 56.1 million acre feet on Jan. 21. All 16.3 MAF of flood control storage is available to capture and manage the 2020 upper Missouri River basin runoff.

While system storage has reached the base of the Annual Flood Control and Multiple Use zone, the reservoirs at Fort Peck and Garrison Dams still have water in their respective flood control pools.

“Ice conditions on the Missouri River in North Dakota and Montana will limit our ability to empty the flood control pools at Fort Peck and Garrison Dams before March 1,” said Remus.

As of this morning, Fort Peck is 1.8 feet above the base of its flood control pool and Garrison is 0.9 foot above the base of its flood control pool.

The river ice report is available here: https://go.usa.gov/xpZZX.

Mountain snowpack continues to accumulate and is currently at or slightly below average. The mountain snowpack accumulation period is about 50% complete. The mountain snowpack normally peaks near April 15. The mountain snowpack graphics can be viewed here: https://go.usa.gov/xE6wT.

Weekly updates on basin conditions, reservoir levels and other topics of interest can be viewed here: https://go.usa.gov/xE6wa.

The three-week forecast is updated each Wednesday, or more frequently as needed, and is available here: http://go.usa.gov/xVgWr.

“Releases from all projects will be higher than average during the remainder of the winter. We will continue to monitor conditions and remain aggressive in our releases, to the extent it is practicable,” said Remus.

The forecast reservoir releases and elevations are not definitive. Additional precipitation, runoff conditions, river ice conditions, or other circumstances could require additional adjustments to the reservoir release rates.


Contact
Eileen Williamson
402-996-3802
eileen.l.williamson@usace.army.mil

Release no. 20-007