USACE: Lake levels drop below 210 feet at Arkabutla Dam

Published 7:31 pm Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Vicksburg, Miss – Lake levels at Arkabutla Dam have dropped below 210 feet which greatly decreases the potential of a breach situation, officials announced Tuesday.

Lake levels at Arkabutla Dam, located in DeSoto and Tate Counties in northwest Mississippi, can fluctuate quickly especially during the rainy season.

Last week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District increased the potential breach emergency status at Arkabutla Dam from “alert” to “watch” due to reservoir levels having risen to over 210 feet because of precipitation and snow/ice melt in the Arkabutla Lake drainage basin.  

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Because lake levels fluctuate quickly, the “watch” designation will continue through the rainy season.

The Corps maintains the lake at approximately 204 feet to provide a safety margin and will continue to draw down the level this week to approximately 204 feet, officials said. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District is coordinating with the National Weather Service and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency to maximize public awareness in affected areas.

The potential breach emergency status is associated with observed signs of distress at the dam discovered in May 2023. Interim risk reduction measures are underway; however, are not yet complete. Emergency repairs are expected to be completed this summer. Operational releases associated with lowering the lake are not expected to induce downstream flooding.

USACE officials said the physical condition of the dam remains unchanged, and a dam breach is not imminent.

As always, safety remains a top priority to the US Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District. Lake staff and additional personnel are on the ground to monitor the situation at Arkabutla Dam for any changes. 

Current conditions at Arkabutla Dam include:

  •       Reservoir Pool Elevation          208.7 feet elevation
  •       Spillway Crest Elevation           238 feet elevation
  •       Spillway Status                    Not Activated
  •       Pool Restriction                   204 feet elevation
  •       Current releases                        3,850 cubic feet per second (cfs)

Regularly updated reservoir pool levels can be found at https://www.mvk-wc.usace.army.mil/resrep.htm

The USACE Vicksburg District is engineering solutions to the nation’s toughest challenges. The Vicksburg District encompasses a 68,000-square-mile area across portions of Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana, that holds nine major river basins and incorporates approximately 460 miles of mainline Mississippi River levees.The Vicksburg District is engaged in hundreds of projects and employs approximately 1,100 personnel.