EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) -- As rains have slowed down across Oregon for the time being, some high water along many of Oregon’s rivers will continue as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers readies for another winter storm.
Saturday morning, January 21st, 2012, engineers began releasing much of the pent up water from several Willamette Valley dams in efforts to make more storage space for more heavy rains that are expected to come.
“People are doing what they can to protect themselves and we're doing everything we can to minimize impacts downstream,” says Dustin Bengtson, the Deputy Operations Project Manager for the Willamette Valley region for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dams.
The water release is happening at all 13 Willamette Valley dams, including Dorena Lake near Cottage Grove.
Right now, Dorena Lake is at about 70 percent capacity.
During the storm engineers say Dorena Lake and many other dams were taking in around 10,000 cubic feet of water per second, while only releasing around 150 cubic feet of water per second.
Now engineers are releasing around 6,000 CF of water per second at the Dorena Lake dam, about as much water as is still coming in to the dam.
Residents immediately down river from Dexter, Dorena and Fern Ridge dams should see water levels exceed bank levels in the coming days due to the release.
Engineers are emphasizing that the water release is under control and being monitored.
“We're going to continue to elevate flows over the next couple days, continually monitor weather forecasts and adjust those outflows based on that forecast and how it changes. Again, the goal is to release as much water as we can, minimize impacts down stream, and gain back protection, safety for the next storm coming in,” says Bengtson.
Engineers are anticipating another rush of water to come at the dams next Tuesday, January 24th, 2012, if the forecast holds.
So far, engineers say the 13 Willamette Valley dams are operating as designed without any problems.
The water release should continue for the next two to three days. Engineers are hoping to ramp up the CFS at each dam little by little over the coming days.