US Army Corps of Engineers
Nashville District

How The Cumberland River Reservoir System Works

Controlled vs. Uncontrolled Water Flow

To determine if a reservoir has controlled or uncontrolled flow, a reservoir must first be designated as a flood risk management or a run-of-the-river reservoir. 

Flood risk management reservoirs have a controlled flow. This means these reservoirs are able to control the volume of water flowing into the river downstream of the dam by having more land designated around each reservoir to aid in water storage. 

Run-of-the-river reservoirs conversely have an uncontrolled flow.  Not designed with storage capabilities, water must be released through these dams and passed downstream without delay.

 

Wolf Creek Dam in Jamestown, Ky.  Old Hickory Dam in Hendersonville, Tenn. 
 Wolf Creek Dam - Flood Control  Old Hickory Dam - Run of River