The key to the battle for flooding control in 2011 on the mainstem Mississippi is now the Morganza Spillway! From Wikipedia:
The Morganza Spillway was first opened in 1973, not to control flooding, but to relieve pressure on the Old River Control Structure.
The Morganza Spillway is a floodway located in Louisiana along the western bank of the Mississippi River at river mile 280 upriver of Morganza, built and operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The spillway is intended for use in connection with the Old River Control Structure during major flooding to divert water from the Mississippi River into the Atchafalaya River and Atchafalaya Basin by flooding portions of the Morganza and Atchafalaya Basin floodways and, in extreme events, flooding areas beyond those boundaries. The diverted water would then enter the Gulf of Mexico at Morgan City instead of New Orleans. This has the effect of lowering water level in the Mississippi downstream of the spillway, and helps to relieve stress on levees and other flood control structures both upstream and down.
The spillway has been opened only once, in 1973, to relieve stress on the Old River Control Structure nearby upriver. Another opening of the spillway is being considered (as of 12 May 2011) to divert water to the Atchafalaya Basin during the 2011 Mississippi River floods, reducing water levels and water flow below the spillway. Jeff Masters of the Weather Underground noted that failure of the Old River Structure “would be a serious blow to the U.S. economy, and the great Mississippi flood of 2011 will give [this structure] its most severe test ever.” Any failure of the Morganza Spillway would have similar consequences.
- 1 Design and construction
- 2 Operation during floods
- 3 Consequences of failure
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External Links