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Increased water levels at Smithville Lake could help limit flooding

Smithville Lake water levels 2019.jpg
Posted at 10:39 PM, Jun 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-05 23:54:15-04

SMITHVILLE, Mo. — Constant rainfall has led to high water levels at Smithville Lake.

With water levels about seven feet higher than normal, officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told 41 Action News they have increased daily inspections.

"We will hold our water until the rivers downstream are low enough so we can safely release water from our project," Laura Vacca said. "If those rivers were at their normal level, we could release water, but we just can’t with the levels that they are at right now and the water that is still coming in."

Vacca is the operations project manager at Smithville Lake for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

When water is released from the dam, she said the water runs into the Platte and Missouri rivers.

Water levels in both rivers are high right now and have caused flooding problems in various towns.

Vacca said Smithville Lake can handle a couple more feet of water before they are forced to start releasing some.

"Once that capacity is gone, then the decisions are made how much do you release and how quickly do we release, and that’s all through our water management office," she said.

Meanwhile, officials are warning boaters at Smithville Lake to be careful in the high water as some signs and trees are underwater.