US Army Corps of Engineers
Kansas City District Website

Corps reduces releases from Missouri River dams due to lower runoff

Published Nov. 7, 2014

For Immediate Release: November 6, 2014

Contact: Serena Baker, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Northwestern Division

Phone: 503-808-3710                         E-mail:

Corps reduces releases from Missouri River dams due to lower runoff

Omaha, Neb. — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Missouri River Basin Water Management Division is reducing releases from the four lower Missouri River dams because drier conditions in October have reduced runoff into the reservoir system, resulting in faster evacuation of stored flood water.  Releases were increased earlier this fall following heavy rains in the upper Missouri River Basin. The 2014 calendar year runoff forecast is 34.7 million acre feet (MAF), 138 percent of normal, which is down 0.8 MAF from one month ago. Average annual runoff is 25.2 MAF.

Daily releases from Fort Randall and Gavins Point dams will be reduced about 3,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) in a stair-step manner during a four-day period from Nov. 6–9. The total release reduction will be approximately 10,000 cfs and will lower the Missouri River by 2-3 feet. 

“Despite recent reductions, the releases are still above normal and will continue to evacuate flood water stored in the Mainstem Reservoir System, thus reducing our future flood risk,” says Jody Farhat, chief of the Missouri River Basin Water Management Division. “Our reservoir release plans during the fall and winter will ensure we have the entire flood control capacity available next year.”

The excess water stored in the reservoir system has made it possible for the Corps to extend the navigation season by providing higher winter releases. Navigation service at the mouth of the Missouri River will now end on Dec. 10.  This operation also will benefit hydropower generation and reduce risks to water intakes during ice formation. Gavins Point Dam winter releases, which are normally near 17,000 cfs, will be scheduled at 19,000 cfs from December through February.

Last Day of Navigation Flow Support 

Location                      Date

Sioux City, Iowa              Dec. 1

Omaha, Neb.                   Dec. 3

Nebraska City, Neb.           Dec. 4

Kansas City, Mo.              Dec. 6

Mouth near St. Louis, Mo.     Dec. 10

The total volume of water stored in the reservoir system at the end of October was 58.1 MAF, down 1.9 MAF for the month. Currently, 2.0 MAF of the 16.3 MAF combined flood control storage is occupied. The Corps will continue to monitor basin conditions and fine tune the regulation of the reservoir system based on the most up-to-date information.

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Release no. 20141106-001