Bureau of Reclamation Banner, Upper Colorado Region
Crystal Spill

Aspinall Unit Reservoirs –September unregulated inflow into Blue Mesa Reservoir was 48,000 acre-feet or 126 percent of average.  Precipitation during September was observed to be about 160 percent of average, a welcome relief.  The current inflow rate into Blue Mesa Reservoir is about 900 cfs and reservoir releases are averaging about 1300 cfs. Blue Mesa's present elevation is 7491.71 feet, which corresponds to a storage content of about 595,000 acre-feet.  The unregulated reservoir inflow into Blue Mesa Reservoir during water year 2014 was 1.145 million acre-feet, or about 120 percent of average.

Releases from Crystal have recently increased to help with the trout survey in the Gunnison River.  After the fish survey, Crystal releases will be reduced from 1,550 down to 1350 cfs.  Current diversions into the Gunnison Tunnel are approximately 950 cfs.  Flows in the Gunnison River below the tunnel are about 650 cfs and will be returning to 450 cfs by October 10th.

Releases from Crystal are currently set at 1,900 cfs.  The Gunnison Diversion Tunnel is diverting about 1,000 cfs, which results in a river flow below the diversion tunnel of approximately 900 cfs.  These rates will most likely change as conditions warrant, primarily as we respond to changes at the Whitewater gage as flows prescribed in the Aspinall Unit Operations Record of Decision (ROD).  The ROD calls for keeping summer base flows at the Whitewater gage at or above 1,500 cfs.

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 1050 cfs for September through December. Flows in the lower Gunnison River are currently above the baseflow target of 1050 cfs. River flows have remained relatively high due to the September rains and flows are expected to stay above the October baseflow target for the foreseeable future. 

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

The last meeting of the "Aspinall Unit Working Group" was held on Thursday, September 4, 2014 at the Elk Creek Visitors Center at Blue Mesa Reservoir.  At this meeting, review of this spring’s reservoir operations, and plans for this summer and fall operations were 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 October 8, 2014

Email comments/inquires to: ResourceMgr@usbr.gov