The Corps of Engineers will start easing the flow of water into the Missouri River next weekend. But Missourians living in high-water areas won’t notice much difference in water levels.
The Corps has been running 160,000 cubic feet of water per second through the Gavins Point Dam for weeks. That flow will drop by 5,000 cubic feet on Saturday and by another 5,000 on Monday. The Corps water management director could announce more cuts by the end of the week.
Director Jody Farhat says decisions made on the flow of water beginning almost eight weeks ago were based on the best information possible. But she says federal spending on the data collection needed to run the reservoir system is reduced and the number of river gauges is reduced.. But the Corps’ Omaha District Commander, Colonel Bob Ruch joins Farhat saying the snowmelt retention program was on target until heavy rains hit upstream areas late in May. “There’s no gauge that tells you that you’re going to get five to eight inches of rain across a weekend,” he says.
Farhat says the Corps, the weather service, and the federal geological service have to fight every year for more and better information-gathering equipment.
Regardless, Farhat says this year’s floods create a new data point for future system management