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Jun 22, 2011 11:23 PM by Shawn Kline

Morganza Spillway to stay open into July

Water levels are dropping in the Morganza spillway but the Army Corps of Engineers announced it's not going to be closed for at least another month.
The decision is raising a lot of questions for area farmers; much of their farm land is still under water.
One farmer says his season is over with because of the flooding. He's now looking to next year.

"It's going to take the rest of the year to get it fixed for next year," he said.

At the control structure, only one bay remains open, but why? The answer is hidden under water. Corps Engineers want to make repairs to the structure but they have to wait for all the water to drain into the spillway.

"If any damage has occurred, we need to be able to go in there, do an inspection, do an assessment, write a report," Col. Ed Fleming said. "Then we'll be able to do some repairs."

With budgets due at the end of July, Col. Fleming has just over a month to drain what's called the forebay- the water between the Mississippi River and the control structure.

Water levels aren't expected to rise in that time but calculations from the spillway have been wrong in the past- off by as much as five-feet and forced controversial evacuations in Butte La Rose among other places.

"There were a couple of things that occurred that we really weren't anticipating." Col. Fleming says, "when we thought people were going to get 15 feet of water and they only got 15 inches, there were a lot of reasons why."

Col. Fleming says inaccurate reports from the National Weather Service, drought conditions and an unanticipated flow of the water to the east are some of the reasons for inaccurate flood reports.

"I'd rather be wrong on that side as opposed to telling you 15 inches and you end up with 15 feet," Col. Fleming said of those inaccuracies.



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