Water releases from dams upstream on the Missouri River have dropped considerably and will continue to drop, but officials want safety awareness to remain high.
This good news, the news residents all along the Missouri River have been awaiting, comes with a caution. Releases from all the upstream dams on the Missouri River have been dropping dramatically. At Gavins Point, releases once at 160,000 cubic feet per second have dropped to 125,000 and will drop 5,000 cubic feet per second per day until August 30th, when the releases will pause at 90,000. That pause will allow the US Army Corps of Engineers to inspect the levee system, which has been under tremendous pressure the entire summer.
Army Corps of Engineers Brigadier General John McMahon, Northwest Division Commander, says the public can’t drop its guard.
“The water’s still high. It’s moving fast. There’s erosion and other effects. We have to vigilant in terms of how the levees, both the temporary and the permanent ones, are performing. So, we’re not all of the woods, yet,” McMahon says.
The Corps began to dramatically ease the water releases this weekend, dropping to 145,000 cubic feet per second on Friday, 140,000 on Saturday.
South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard warns danger lurks as the releases drop.
“So, we want to urge our citizens not to become complacent which is easy to do, because they see, oh, the end is in sight, the light is at the end of the tunnel,” according to Daugaard.
Daugaard says the next ten day period is a time to be very careful as the water recedes from the super saturated levees, which could slump once the water pressure eases. Daugaard warns that if there is going to be a catastrophic failure of any levee, it could come during that period.