Bureau of Reclamation Banner, Upper Colorado Region
Crystal Spill

Aspinall Unit Reservoirs –October unregulated inflow into Blue Mesa Reservoir was 33,000 acre-feet or 87 percent of average.  Precipitation during October was observed to be about 95 percent of average.  The current inflow rate into Blue Mesa Reservoir is about 500 cfs while reservoir releases are averaging about 1,000 cfs.  Blue Mesa's present elevation is 7500.69 feet, which corresponds to a storage content of about 667,000 acre-feet.  The unregulated reservoir inflow into Blue Mesa Reservoir during water year 2015 was 1.04 million acre-feet, or about 109 percent of average.
Releases from Crystal are currently set at 1,100 cfs.  The Gunnison Diversion Tunnel was shut down for the season on October 31st, with exception of some small 50 to 100 cfs diversions taken bi-weekly for municipal water needs in Montrose, Colorado.  River flows below the tunnel are essentially the same as releases from the Dam.  With Blue Mesa Reservoir being above the winter target elevation of 7490 feet, Aspinall reservoir releases maybe increasing over the remainder of November through December to help meet icing target.

To view the most current reservoir elevation, content, inflow and release, click on: Blue Mesa Reservoir Data or Crystal Reservoir Data.

Pursuant to the Aspinall Unit Operations Record of Decision (ROD), the baseflow target in the lower Gunnison River, as measured at the Whitewater gage, is 1,050 cfs for September through December. Flows in the lower Gunnison River are currently above the baseflow target of 1,050 cfs.

On November 2, 2015, the National Weather Service’s River Forecasting Center issued its forecasted inflow into Blue Mesa for the next 3 months.  The unregulated inflow forecast for November, December, and January is for 80,000 acre-feet, which is 99% of average for these months.

The next operation meeting is scheduled for 1:00 p.m., Thursday, January 21rd, 2016 at the Holiday Inn Express in Montrose, Colorado.  At this meeting, review of last summer and fall reservoir operations, and plans for this winter and next spring 2016 operations will be discussed.  These meetings are open forum discussions on the Aspinall Unit reservoir operations with many interested groups participating. Anyone needing further information about these meetings should contact Erik Knight in the Grand Junction Area Office at (970) 248-0629.

To view minutes from the last Aspinall meeting, click on: Meeting Notes.

Paul Davidson
Updated November 24, 2015

Email comments/inquires to: ResourceMgr@usbr.gov