Basically, the operating plan for the Missouri River watershed is a nearly carbon copy of the plan for the past year. “The 2013-2014 Draft Annual Operating Plan anticipates low, relatively stable runoff into the basin for the remainder of the 2013 calendar year and into early spring 2014.
As a result, the Corps expects system storage to be below the base of the annual flood control pool at the start of the 2014 runoff season, which begins on or around March 1, near the same level it was at the start of the 2013 runoff season.”
The release of the operating plan on the Missouri is not good news for the Mississippi River barge industry, particularly in the wake of the lower than normal levels of water on the Lower Mississippi River. Such issues only serve as predictors to a challenging winter season for barges hauling 2013 grain south and 2014 fertilizer north.
The continuing drought in the central part of the US, which serves as the watersheds for the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, has diminished water flow in both rivers. The Mississippi’s barge industry had difficulty throughout the winter of 2012 and 2013 because of low water levels, and that is shaping up to be the case again in the winter of 2013-2014.
Because of the diminished rainfall in the Missouri watershed, river management has decided to retain its operating plan from last year, and avoid release of any large amounts of water in upstream reservoirs that might raise water levels in the Mississippi.
Source: FarmGate blog