The rapids aren't what they should be

Posted at 7:10 PM, Jul 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-08 07:41:26-04

 "The rapids are back," said project manager Russ Hicks. "It's exciting. It's here."

But, not in full capacity.

"It's a two-part harmony right now and we will have a large chorus when we get some more water," Hicks said.

There just hasn't been enough rainfall.

"I'm guessing it could be a foot and a half, two feet higher if it were normal flows. But, we haven't had rain in over 5 weeks now, or any significant rain for 5 weeks and that's really what it takes," explained City Manager, Jon Stoppels.

Some are also blaming the flow of water from the Smithville and State Street dams.

"This time yesterday, you could not hear these rapids behind me, 24 hours later you can because now there's more water. What will happen in the next 24-48 hours, will it rise or fall or rise? There needs to be some consistency in the flow rate," Hicks said.

The DNR told us the owner of the dams signed a licensing agreement saying the same amount of water that flows into each reservoir should be flowing out.

But, the DNR said, he hasn't been complying for the last 6 to 8 months, which pushed the Federal Government to suspend him from generating power.

"Once that's all corrected and Mother Nature pays us back the water we're due, I think you'll see a big difference here," Stoppels added.

But, the dam owner said when the rocks were put in to create the rapids, that's what dried up the river bed.

Either way, little water is bad news for the fish and the City.

"Certainly if this is bone dry, nobody's gonna come here," Stoppels said.

So, he and Hicks are hoping for rain and a resolution.

The DNR said the Federal Government could shut the dams down if the owner doesn't come up with a plan. But, that could take some time.

We'll let you know what happens.