A statement released by the Army Corps of Engineers states water released out of Gavins Point Dam in Yankton, S.D. will be decreased to minimum winter levels beginning the third week of November.
The statement also added a reduction of releases to minimum winter levels is the first of several drought conservation measures the Corps will take if the drought conditions continue into 2013.
“Winter releases from Gavins Point will be targeted at minimum levels, averaging close to 12,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) from December through the end of February to conserve water in the reservoir system,” said Jody Farhat, Chief of the Missouri River Basin Water Management Division. “Temporary increases above 12,000 cfs may be necessary to keep water intakes along the lower river operational particularly during periods of ice formation.”
"Historically there has always been a reduce in flow at the end of the season which varies from the first part of November to the first part of December," Eastern District County Commissioner Paul Davis said.
The Navigation Season for the Central Missouri Region begins in late March and continues through November.
Davis also said there is not enough water to support year round navigation. Because of this the Corps has to allocate water to certain areas as the need arises.
"You will not see any towboats this winter," Davis said.
Davis also added that the Corps try to accommodate the passage of barges in late Autumn due to the transportation of grain and likewise in the Spring with the transportation of Fertilizer. Davis said that the Corp will guarantee water for drinking.
Furthermore, the Corps will likely take into action other drought conservation measures in regards to navigation flow support and navigation season length during 2013. Based on the current forecast, the Corps will likely decrease navigation flow support for the first half of next year's navigation season. The actual service level will be set based on the March 15 system storage in accordance with guidelines in the Missouri River Master Manual, the water control plan used by the Corps to manage Missouri River operations. Flow support for the second half of the navigation season, as well as the navigation season length, may be reduced based on the July 1 storage check if drought conditions persist.