Three Morganza spillway bays closed

Corps of Engineers had under estimated amount of water released

NEW ORLEANS (UPI) | May 27, 2011

The Army Corps of Engineers says it closed three of the Morganza Spillway bays, reducing the gush of floodwater into the Atchafalaya River Basin in Louisiana.

The closure came after the corps determined it had underestimated the rate of flow through the spillway gates, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported Wednesday.

One Morganza bay was shut Tuesday and two more were closed Wednesday leaving 14 of the 125 bays open, corps spokesman Ken Holder said.

Computer models used by the corps had concluded 17 openings would allow only 114,000 cubic feet per second but the actual discharge rate was closer to 170,000, leading to the closure of the three bays to bring the rate down to 140,000.

Cities and towns in the Atchafalaya Basin would get "a little less water than what we had been sending," as a result of the closings, Holder said.

Morgan City Mayor Tim Matte, who has been keeping up with river data, said, "that's good news. Less water coming down may mean that the water might start to recede sooner."

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