MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Tennessee Valley Authority says it will release water from two dams to help with navigation on the Mississippi River, but it’s not likely to have much of an impact in the Mid-South.
Water levels in the Mississippi have dropped to record-setting lows, stranding barges and boats.
The river gauge at Memphis set an all-time record low of -10.7 feet Monday and is forecast to go lower in the next few weeks. The TVA said the gauge upriver in Cairo, Illinois is approaching its lowest level since 1901.
An ongoing drought in the Midwest has left boats at Memphis marinas beached on dry land, and barges stacked up in Mississippi, Arkansas and elsewhere.
“To help stabilize commercial navigation conditions on the lower Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, we are scheduling special water releases from Kentucky Dam on the Tennessee River and Barkley Dam on the Cumberland River to help low river level impacts,” the TVA said.
TVA spokesman Travis Brickey said the water release will provide steadier flow into the Ohio River, which flows into the Mississippi River near Cairo, to aid in commercial navigation around Paducah, Kentucky.
But because of the length of the river and the volume of water, Brickey said the water is not likely to make it this far downriver.