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Pomme De Terre
Water Control Manual Revision

Frequently Asked Questions

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 What is a Water Control Manual?

A Water Control Manual is a legal document that guides day-to-day decisions on when and how much water will be stored or released to meet authorized purposes.    The rules for releasing water anticipate wide ranging conditions, like rainstorms or drought, that may affect a project or other projects in the system. The goal is to protect life safety and to meet the operating purposes of flood damage reduction, water quality, recreation, and fish and wildlife management.

 Why is the Pomme de Terre WCM being updated?
  • Pomme de Terre Lake needs an updated Water Control Manual WCM because conditions have changed since the current WCM was approved in 1971.  Changes in land use above and below the dam, in the river below the dam, engineering advances, and Congress’s direction to plan for droughts will be factored into the update.  Updating the WCM will:
    • Improve the water control rules that governs the release of water from the flood control storage pool
    • Develop improved rules for releasing water during droughts
    • Provide operational flexibility for managing pool levels and releases in order to better balance all authorized purposes of the dam and reservoir and to coordinate with other projects in the Osage River Basin
    • Enable USACE to address current stakeholder concerns and more effectively manage the lake in the future.

The Corps of Engineers maintains a national website where it can be viewed here.  

 How does the Corps decide when to release water during flood control operations?

When the lake is at or below normal elevation, a constant release of 50 CFS is maintained. These releases occur based on how much storage in the lake there is above elevation 839.0 in the flood control pool as well as the amount of room in the river downstream to accept flow. As more water accumulates higher and higher in the lake, the Water Control Manual rules allow for larger releases into the river.  The August 29, 2022 Public Meeting will provide explanation in much greater detail. 

 If I submit a comment, will someone respond to me?

If you submit a comment on the comment page, your comment will be read by the team that is doing the assessment of current conditions and analyzing potential actions. You will not receive a direct, individualized response. You can also submit questions on the question page. Questions will receive a response.

 If the water manual is so important to update the Water Control Manual, why hasn’t it been updated since 1971?

All Corps projects are prioritized by Congress based on needs and available funding.  Over the past five years, increased flooding and drought concerns have underscored how important water control manuals are to managing Corps reservoirs under these wide-ranging conditions. Now that nationally prioritized funding is available, Pomme de Terre was selected as the first among ten other dam and reservoir project manuals in the Kansas City District to be updated.   These updates are all scheduled to be completed by the year 2027, with Pomme de Terre’s effort being the starting point for other more complicated updates.