Mighty Mo. Running Low For Yankton Water Pipes
by Jeff Rusack, Reporter
November 26, 2012 5:51 PM
Wind the clock back a year and a half and people were talking about the amazing amounts of water flowing through Gavin's Point Dam. Today, it's quite a different story.
The Army Corps of Engineers plan to lower releases to the dam’s lowest in years. That's in large part due to the drought.
Now, communities down stream are wondering if their infrastructure can handle such extreme water level changes on the Missouri River.
“The issue we had, is during the flooding we had a sandbar build up over top our intake,” said the Director of Environmental Services in Yankton, Kyle Goodmanson.
The intake sucks in 5 million gallons of water a day for the city of Yankton.
After the flood, city officials had to take action to make sure water could still flow into the cities pipes.
“We actually had to lift our intake up approximately 4 feet to get it off the bottom and above the sandbar,” said Goodmanson.
Releases from Gavin's Point Dam are scheduled to lower to 12,000 cubic feet per second, a far cry from the nearly 160,000 last year. City officials have to plan for something they're not quite used too on the Missouri River, a lack of water.
“We lifted it up. We thought we would be fine. Now, they're talking about 12,000cfs and we're wondering if we did lift it too high,” said Goodmanson.
The force of the 2011 flood rearranged the river bottom and now officials are unsure how high the river will be when releases from the dam drop further.
One plan is to have the intake lowered to its previous height.
“If we couldn't get low enough doing that, we would have to put temporary pumps in the river,” said Goodmanson.
Residents of Yankton don’t need to worry about running out of water just yet.
“Even if the intake is reduced in it's flow, we still have plenty of water. It's when you get into that high usage in the middle of the summer that we have concerns,” said Goodmanson.