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Crystal Spill

Aspinall Unit Reservoirs – February unregulated inflow into Blue Mesa Reservoir was 28,000 acre-feet or 125 percent of average.  On March 6th the basin snowpack was 84 percent of average, which is a 4 percent decrease from a month earlier.  Precipitation during February was 75 percent of average.  The current inflow rate into Blue Mesa Reservoir is about 400 cfs while reservoir releases are averaging about 500 cfs.  The reservoir elevation is currently at 7464.81 feet, which corresponds to a storage content of about 402,000 acre-feet.  This elevation is about 20 feet higher than last year’s March elevation.

The latest Water Supply Forecast for Water Year 2015 has been issued and the April through July unregulated inflow is forecasted to be at 600,000 acre-feet (89% of average), this is 20,000 acre-feet lower than last month’s forecast.  If this forecast holds through May 1st, the Black Canyon Water Right would call for a one day peak flow of 4,492 cfs.  Also using this same forecast for the determining the flow recommendations from the Aspinall ROD at Whitewater gage, the peak flow at that point would be 8,070 cfs for 10 days. 

Based on this forecast and the combination of meeting the ROD and the Black Canyon Water Right this coming spring, Blue Mesa Reservoir is projected to fill up to about elevation 7509 feet this runoff season.  A Blue Mesa “fill” is calculated to be about 7516.4 feet, or about 3.0 feet short of top of active conservation pool.

Releases from Crystal are currently set at 600 cfs.  The Gunnison Diversion Tunnel is currently shut down for the season, with the exception of some small 50 to 100 cfs diversions taken for municipal water needs in Montrose, Colorado.  The tunnel is expected to reopen for irrigation season sometime between the last week of March and the first week of April.

Reservoir releases are likely to change during March into May as we respond to changing forecasts and runoff conditions.

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

The next meeting of the "Aspinall Unit Working Group" will be held on Thursday April 23rd in the Montrose, Colorado, starting at 1:00 PM.  At this meeting, review of last summer and fall reservoir operations, and plans for this winter and next spring 2015 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 March 6, 2015

Email comments/inquires to: ResourceMgr@usbr.gov