Corps preps for 2019 Missouri River runoff season

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues to prepare the Missouri River Mainstem System for the 2019 runoff season.

Chief of the Corps’ Missouri River Basin Water Management Division John Remus says the 2018 calendar year runoff was 41.9 million acre feet, the third highest runoff in 120 years of record-keeping (1898-2017), exceeded only in 1997 and 2011. As of Jan. 6, the total volume of water stored in the System is 56.6 million acre feet. Remus says based on current soil moisture conditions, current plains and mountain snowpack and long-term temperature and precipitation outlooks, the 2019 calendar year runoff forecast is 101 percent of average. He says that may change based on current conditions, so the forecast will be updated at least monthly.

Oahe Dam releases are expected to average 24,800 cfs in January, up from 22,000 cfs in December. The reservoir level is expected to decline approximately one-third of a foot (0.3) this month. Big Bend Dam releases averaged 19,800 cfs in December and are expected to average 25,400 cfs this month.

The six mainstem power plants generated 758 million kWh of electricity in December, up 74 million kWh from typical energy generation in December (684 million kWh). The power plants are projected to generate 12.3 billion kWh of electricity this year, compared to the long-term average of 9.3 billion kWh.


To view the detailed three-week release forecast for the mainstem dams, go to

Weekly updates on basin conditions, reservoir levels and other topics of interest can be viewed here:

After reviewing comments received on the draft, the Missouri River Basin Water Management Division developed and released the F for 2018–2019. The plan is posted at