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Posted 2/16/2018

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By James F. Lowe
Public Affairs Office


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Runoff in the Missouri River basin was slightly above average in 2017. Increased releases through the fall has allowed the reservoirs to have all flood storage capability ready for the beginning of the 2018 runoff season. Water management teams help guide the decision making process that prepares our system to handle the unexpected. The coordination through the Northwestern Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in setting releases and storage at the main stem dams in the northern portion of the basin, sets the conditions for our reservoir system on the tributaries that feed into the Missouri River.

Important items to remember to consider how the Kansas City District conducts water management:

• Release decisions are never arbitrary in size and never randomly timed.

• Flood control operations are based on water on the ground.

• Flood control releases are allowed to increase as reservoir pool elevation increases.

• Water Control Manuals provide guidance for flood control releases, balancing the risk of storing water in the reservoir and wisely utilizing the space available in the receiving river system downstream.

• Flood control releases follow rules established for each reservoir, the magnitude and timing of which depend upon timely analysis of lake and river data.

• Water Management schedules releases from flood control storage based on current pool elevation and flows/levels at the downstream target (control point) gage location.

In reference to Truman Lake:

• Authorized operating purposes in the Osage Basin include; flood control, hydropower, water supply, water quality, recreation, and fish and wildlife.

• Truman Lake provides approximately four million acre feet of flood control storage, over 70 percent of the basin’s combined flood control storage.

• A memorandum of agreement between the Corps and Ameren outlines release coordination from Truman Lake.

• The Corps does not operate Truman Lake to maintain the Lake of the Ozarks at its normal pool elevation.

Chris Purzer, the Kansas City District chief of Water Management, remembered an example from recent history that helps illustrate the flood-risk management operations. In December of 2015 and January 2016, south central Missouri and parts of Arkansas received 4 to 7 inches of concentrated rain. "Truman, Stockton, and Pomme de Terre lakes, all part of the Osage basin were filling with rain and runoff. Many of the district leadership were still out on leave. But, our experienced water management technicians were alert and responsive to changing conditions and coordinated with local and state leaders and shut down releases from Truman. This action stored flood waters and kept it from inundating communities on the Missouri River below Herman," said Purzer.

John Remus, chief of the Missouri River Basin Water Management office for the Northwestern Division, who leads the control of the main stem reservoirs north of the district’s area of operations, called out the partnership relationship with our district. Data collection and data analysis helps the coordination of oversight to water management. "Both the Omaha District and the Kansas City District have been instrumental in updating the water control manuals and emphasizing consistency across the Missouri River basin. Their management of the tributary reservoirs is key to that consistency," said Remus.

A partner with Kansas Water Office, Nate Westup, referred to the working relationship with the Kansas City District, "We have contracts with the District for water storage in eight reservoirs: Clinton, Perry, Tuttle Creek, Milford, Kanopolis, Hillsdale, Pomona and Melvern lakes in Kansas. These contracts are essential to meeting our monthly water supply demands."

"When there is a need to address a change in operations, I’m 100 percent confident the Corps water management personnel [including the Tulsa District] would be available weekends, evenings and holidays," said Westup summarizing his high regard for the team work between the partners.

The Kansas City District is a team of dedicated professionals with a strong heritage and proven results who, in collaboration with our partners, proudly serve in the Heartland providing leadership, technical excellence, and innovative solutions to the nation's most complex problems.

Harry S. Truman Harry S. Truman Lake Kansas Water Office water management