Reclamation Announces Spring Release Schedule For Navajo Reservoir

Media Contact: Pat Page, 970-385-6560

For Release: April 04, 2005

The Bureau of Reclamation announced today that based upon the latest spring runoff forecast for Navajo Reservoir, which predicts 163% of the average inflow, the agency will begin increasing the releases from the reservoir in late April. Releases are expected to remain at 500 cubic feet per second (cfs) until then. The spring release pattern and magnitude will follow the recommendations provided for by the San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program (SJRIP) Flow Recommendations for Endangered Fish. Even with the scheduled high releases, the reservoir is expected to fill this year.

Reservoir operating rules - which take into account the current storage level of the reservoir, the projected inflow into the reservoir, and the estimated demand for the year - call for the maximum release pattern to be implemented. This correlates to a maximum release of 5,000 cfs from the reservoir for 21 consecutive days, with a ramp up and ramp down period. The purpose of this release design is to better mimic natural (pre-dam) runoff conditions.

Reclamation will begin ramping up on April 27, 2005. The initial ramp up will consist of an increase of 500 cfs over a one-day period, then holding at that rate (1,000 cfs) for a week, followed by a one-day increase of 1,000 cfs, and holding at that rate (2,000 cfs) for another week. Subsequent 1,000 cfs increases will be made weekly until a maximum release of 5,000 cfs is reached on May 25, 2005. Releases will remain at 5,000 cfs until June 15, 2005, at which time releases will be ramped down over a two-week period. Releases are expected to be back to the base summer release on approximately June 29, 2005. The base summer release will not be less than 350 cfs, and may be higher depending on the reservoir storage level at that time.

It should be noted that this scheduled release pattern is based on the April 2005 forecast. The proposed release plan will be updated as inflow forecasts are updated. A change in weather patterns could impact the final release pattern. Also, adjustments may be made to the releases if significant precipitation occurs during the scheduled release period. As such, this release plan is subject to change. The public will be notified once the spring release is finalized.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.