Aspinall Unit Reservoirs

Blue Mesa

Current Status

(Last Updated: May 12, 2016)

Crystal Dam is currently releasing 1500 cfs with 850 cfs being diverted through the Gunnison Tunnel and approximately 850 cfs flowing through the Black Canyon.  The May forecast for the April-July period for Blue Mesa was increased from April to 525 kaf (78 percent of average).  Under the Aspinall Record of Decision (ROD) the operational targets for the spring peak are in the average dry hydrologic classification which calls for a 10 day duration peak of 8,070 cfs at the Whitewater reach of the Gunnison River.  In terms of the Black Canyon water right, the peak flow target in the Black Canyon, based on the May forecast, will be 3,349 cfs.

Crystal Dam operations will begin ramping up releases on May 11, 2016 to a maximum release of 4,100 cfs by May 15, 2016.  On that day, Morrow Point releases will also be increased to fill the remaining space in Crystal Reservoir.  By late afternoon on May 15, 2016, depending on side inflow conditions at Crystal Reservoir, spillway releases are anticipated to begin.  These spillway releases will be controlled by releases from Morrow Point Dam to control peak releases in the Gunnison River to attempt achieve the ROD operational targets at Whitewater.  These operations will exceed the Black Canyon water right peak flow target.

Inflows to Blue Mesa for the next three months are projected to be below average: with May, June and July forecasted inflow volumes of 155,000 af (74 percent of average), 210,000 af (80 percent of average) and 155,000 af (132 percent of average), respectively.

The Aspinall Unit Working Group is an open public forum for information exchange between Reclamation and the stakeholders of the Aspinall Unit.  The public is encouraged to attend and comments on the operations and plans presented by Reclamation at these meetings.  Meeting notes from past working Group meetings are posted on the Working Group webpage.  For more information on this group and these meetings please contact Erik Knight in the Grand Junction Area Office at (970) 248-0629.

The next meeting of the Aspinall Unit Working Group will be held on Thursday August 18th at 1:00 pm at the Elk Creek Visitor Center at Blue Mesa Reservoir.

To view the most current reservoir elevation, content, inflow and release, click on: Blue Mesa Reservoir Data or Crystal Reservoir Data. To view minutes from the last Aspinall meeting, click on: Meeting Notes.

Additional Information