Jeff Hawk | Pittsburgh City Paper

Jeff Hawk 
Member since Dec 6, 2018


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Re: “Pittsburgh had its second wettest year ever; can the region’s infrastructure handle all the precipitation?

The article is correct in stating that the Army Corps has a lot of water resource infrastructure in the Upper Ohio River Basin = 23 navigation locks and dams along the Mon, Allegheny and upper Ohio rivers and 16 multi-purpose reservoirs in the highlands of the basin. But the article perpetuates a common misconception that the 23 navigation dams mitigate flooding. They do not. In fact, during high water, we open the gates of navigation dams to allow the river to pass through them. If we closed the gates, we would create upriver flooding as water would back up behind the navigation dams. So during high water, the rivers are actually most like rivers, rather than navigation pools connected by dams and water elevators. It's the 16 flood risk management dams in the highlands of the basin that are the champions of flood reduction to downstream communities. These dams retain storage space to impound runoff and precipitation that falls behind them. We can collect up to 33 percent of the runoff that falls in the Upper Ohio River Basin. After the flood threat has passed, we release this water to make storage to capture runoff and precipitation for the next storm. As of 2017, these reservoirs have prevented more than $36 billion in storm damages (2017 dollars) -- a great return on investment. Yes, this past year and a half has been challenging from a water management perspective. Some may not know that we were actively managing flood waters in the basin for most of the year, often cutting the flood crest at the Point and other areas by several feet. See this video for more information or visit our website -- www.lrp.usace.army.mil --to learn more: https://www.facebook.com/PittsburghUSACE/videos/303878247076865/ -Jeff Hawk, public affairs office, USACE Pittsburgh

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jeff Hawk on 12/06/2018 at 12:16 PM

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