WHAT IS A WATER CONTROL MANUAL?
Water Control Manuals, or WCMs, are operating manuals for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, or USACE, dams. USACE makes day to day decisions about releasing water through its dams according to Water Control Plans, or WCPs, that are included in dam specific-WCMs. The objective of all WCMs include operating the dam and reservoir for the purposes authorized by Congress and other applicable law, maintain the structural integrity and operation integrity of the dam (sometimes called a “project” to include reservoir operations) and avoid risk to public health and safety, life and property.
The WCMs are being updated because Congress provided direction and funding in Fiscal Year 2022 for USACE districts across the nation to update WCMs to evaluate and potentially update WCPs as necessary, include a drought contingency plan for managing water releases from dams when there is a drought and meet new requirements for formatting and updating information. Each WCM and its WCP was developed when each project was authorized. They are updated periodically to determine whether there are changes in the physical, environmental and social conditions that need to be accounted for in a dam’s operation.