Bigger reservoirs would not have prevented river flooding

Apr 13, 2012

 A report released today by the Army Corps of Engineers says that having more free space in reservoirs along the Missouri River would not have eliminated last year’s record floods.

Jody Farhat, the Corps’ Chief Water Manager for the Missouri River, says a higher amount of free space would have only reduced last year’s flooding, not prevented it:

“Due to the tremendous volume of water, we still would have had very high record releases from the reservoirs and we still would have had a significant flood event in the Missouri basin.”

Farhat also says increasing flood control space within reservoirs would mean less water for barge traffic, recreation and hydro power.  The report mentions other options, including widening the river channels and reducing development in the flood plain.

The Corps of Engineers will hold public meetings next week in Jefferson City and St. Joseph to discuss river issues, including today’s report.