KANSAS CITY, Mo. --
Continued drought conditions in the Kansas River basin will result in reduced target flows at De Soto, Kansas, and Topeka, Kansas, starting November 1, 2023.
The Kansas River at De Soto, Kansas, flows will be reduced from 1,000 cubic feet per second to 800 cubic feet per second, and the Kansas River at Topeka, Kansas, flows will be reduced from 750 cubic feet per second to 600 cubic feet per second. These flow targets are met to maintain water quality on the Kansas River.
The reduced target flows are part of the drought contingency plan of the Milford, Tuttle Creek and Perry Reservoir Water Control Manuals. Releases from all three reservoirs are coordinated to meet the minimum water quality target flows on the Kansas River. The plan outlines water conservation efforts when Tuttle Creek Reservoir falls below an elevation of 1,070 feet between November 1, and April 30, and when drought conditions persist.
As of October 17, 2023, the U.S. Drought Monitor shows severe to extreme drought over much of the Kansas River Basin, with 77% of its area in severe drought or worse. Tuttle Creek Reservoir dropped below elevation of 1,070 feet on October 18, 2023, and without significant rain it will continue to be below this threshold by November 1, 2023.
If this occurs, the De Soto, Kansas, and Topeka, Kansas, flow targets will be reduced. Drought protocol will continue if Tuttle Creek Reservoir remains below the threshold pool elevations. If rain occurs and the pool elevation increases over 1,070 feet, the normal flow targets will be resumed.
In the past, Tuttle Creek Reservoir has dropped below elevation of 1,070 feet for a significant time in nine historic drought events. The most recent occurred in 2012 and 2013. The Kansas City District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is in coordination with the Kansas Water Office, who has contacted water users of the reduced flows to ensure that their intakes will continue to be able to draw water. Currently, there are no concerns of the reduced flows.
With the current drought conditions, all reservoirs in the Kansas River basin are below the top of their multi-purpose pools. Milford Reservoir is approximately three feet below the top of the multi-purpose pool and has been at minimum releases since late May 2023. Tuttle Creek Reservoir dropped below the top of the multi-purpose pool in late August 2023, and is now approximately five and a half feet below that level. Perry Reservoir dropped below the top of the multi-purpose pool on October 1, 2023, and is now one and a half feet below that level.
Current pool elevations of all Kansas City District reservoirs can be found at https://www.nwd-mr.usace.army.mil/rcc/nwk/kcbull3.pdf and are updated daily.
For more information about the reduced flows at De Soto and Topeka, Kansas, or for more information about the drought conditions in the Kansas River Basin, contact the Kansas City District’s Water Management Section at 816-389-3545 or email Cenwkemail@example.com.