Posted on January 17, 2024
On January 15, 2024, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced the release of the Final Missouri River Mainstem Reservoir System Annual Operating Plan (AOP) for the 2023-2024 runoff season. The AOP, managed by the Missouri River Basin Water Management Division, Northwestern Division in Omaha, Nebraska, charts the course for the management of the Missouri River Mainstem Reservoir System until December 2024.
AOP: The Guiding Document
The AOP serves as a crucial guide, taking its cues from the 2018 Missouri River Master Water Control Manual. Designed to tackle the challenges of water management, the AOP’s development involved a public draft released in September 2023. It was followed by public meetings and a meeting initially scheduled for December, which was later postponed.
The USACE has committed to maintaining open lines of communication with various stakeholders. To this end, it will conduct monthly conference calls to review ground conditions and discuss release plans. This proactive engagement strategy ensures all parties involved stay abreast of changing circumstances and can adapt accordingly.
Preparing for Potential Droughts
The region has faced two consecutive years of below-average runoff. However, this year saw a shift with above-average runoff. Despite this, reservoir levels have not fully recovered, emphasizing the need for continued water conservation measures. These measures form an integral part of the strategy to prepare for potential droughts, ensuring the region’s water security.
The finalized 2023-2024 AOP, which is now available for public access, stands as a testament to the USACE’s commitment to transparent, responsible, and proactive water management within the Missouri River Basin.