Missouri river remains low headed into summer

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Officials may have to increase the amount of water released into the Missouri River over the next couple months to ensure there is enough water in the river for cities that rely on it for water and for barge traffic.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Thursday that significantly less water is expected to flow into the river this year because conditions remain so dry and snowpack is below normal levels. April was an exceptionally dry month the region.

Because of that, officials said Thursday that only about 69% of the normal amount of water is expected to flow into the Missouri River this year.

The Corps now estimates that 17.8 million acre feet (21.96 cubic kilometers) of water will flow into the river this year. That is well below the average of 25.8 million acre feet.

Currently, the amount of water being released from Gavins Point Dam on the Nebraska-South Dakota border is expected to remain around 29,000 cubic feet per second, but it may be increased to roughly 32,000 cubic feet per second to make sure there is enough water in the lower Missouri River.