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The Old River Control Structure is a floodgate system located along the west bank of the Mississippi River at river mile 315 in northern Louisiana, at the divergence of the Atchafalaya River. Completed in 1963, the complex was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to regulate water flow from the Mississippi into the Atchafalaya because of the increasing quantities of water that would otherwise flow into the Atchafalaya, due to that river's shorter and increasingly steeper course to the Gulf of Mexico. Generally, the water distribution between the two rivers is now maintained at 70% to the Mississippi, and 30% to the Atchafalaya.
What condition might potentially lead to this scenario? Experts predict that the ORCS (old river control system) might fail if the snowfall between Saskatchewan and New York exceeds that of the winter of 1972-73.