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UPDATE: Arkabutla Dam Emergency: Lake levels drop below 210 feet

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg District
Published Feb. 6, 2024

Vicksburg, Miss – Lake levels at Arkabutla Dam have dropped below 210’ which greatly decreases the potential of a breach situation.  Lake levels at Arkabutla Dam, located in DeSoto and Tate Counties in Northwest Mississippi, can fluctuate quickly especially during the rainy season. 


Last week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District increased the potential breach emergency status at Arkabutla Dam from ALERT to WATCH because reservoir levels rose to over 210’ due to precipitation and snow/ice melt in the Arkabutla Lake drainage basin.  Because lake levels fluctuate quickly, the WATCH designation will continue through the rainy season.


The Corps maintains the lake at approximately 204’ to provide a safety margin and will continue to draw down the level this week to approximately 204’. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District is coordinating with the National Weather Service and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency to maximize public awareness in affected areas. 


The potential breach emergency status is associated with observed signs of distress at the dam discovered in May 2023. Interim risk reduction measures are underway; however, are not yet complete. Emergency repairs are expected to be completed this summer. Operational releases associated with lowering the lake are not expected to induce downstream flooding.


The physical condition of the dam remains unchanged, and a dam breach is NOT imminent. 


As always, safety remains a top priority to the US Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District. Lake Staff and additional personnel are on the ground to monitor the situation at Arkabutla Dam for any changes.  


Current conditions at Arkabutla Dam include:

  • Reservoir Pool Elevation      208.7 feet elevation
  • Spillway Crest Elevation      238 feet elevation
  • Spillway Status                      Not Activated
  • Pool Restriction                     204 feet elevation
  • Current releases                    3,850 cubic feet per second (cfs) 

Please visit this site to get regularly updated reservoir pool levels: https://www.mvk-wc.usace.army.mil/resrep.htm

The USACE Vicksburg District is engineering solutions to the nation’s toughest challenges. The Vicksburg District encompasses a 68,000-square-mile area across portions of Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana, that holds nine major river basins and incorporates approximately 460 miles of mainline Mississippi River levees. The Vicksburg District is engaged in hundreds of projects and employs approximately 1,100 personnel. 

Christi Kilroy

Release no. 24-006