Missouri River reservoirs drop as drought persists

Billings Gazette

August was so dry that runoff into South Dakota’s Oahe Reservoir was only 10% of average.

Oahe is just one of many dams along the Missouri River managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. On Wednesday the agency released its monthly report noting that continued drought had dropped runoff to 0.9 million acre feet above Sioux City, Iowa, which is only 62% of average.

Going into September, the Corps is predicting 20.2 million acre-feet for this year, which is 78% of average. Average annual runoff for the upper basin is 25.8 MAF.

“Reservoir inflows in August were much lower than average,” said John Remus, chief of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Missouri River Basin Water Management Division. “We expect below-average inflows into the system through the rest of 2022.

With the low inflows, Fort Peck Dam is expected to drop its releases to 4,000 cubic feet per second by mid-September, down from 7,800 cfs. By the end of the month the reservoir’s elevation is predicted to be 2,220.4 feet, down almost a foot from August.

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Drought conditions in the Missouri River Basin above Sioux City, Iowa,

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