Aspinall Unit Reservoirs – April unregulated inflow into Blue Mesa Reservoir was 73,000 acre-feet or 95 percent of average. On May 5, 2015 the basin snowpack was 51 percent of average. One week later on May 11, 2015 the basin snowpack was 69 percent of average. This week was very productive with much needed rain and snow. However, the overall winter weather pattern has been dry and warmer than average. Precipitation during April was 80 percent of average. The current inflow rate into Blue Mesa Reservoir is averaging 2,200 cfs while reservoir releases are averaging about 1,800 cfs. The reservoir elevation is currently at 7492.95 feet, which corresponds to a storage content of about 604,000 acre-feet. This elevation is about 6.0 feet higher, or about 47,000 acre-feet more than a year ago.
The latest Water Supply Forecast for Water Year 2015 was issued on May 1st and the April through July unregulated inflow is forecasted to be at 440,000 acre-feet (65% of normal). This sets the senior Black Canyon Water Right call for a one day spring peak flow of 2,054 cfs, and the Aspinall ROD target at an instantaneous peak flow of 4,991 cfs. Reclamation has just completed meeting both of these target flows based on the water right and ROD recommendations. Given this operation and future forecasted flows, Blue Mesa Reservoir is not projected fill this runoff season. The projected fill is calculated to be between 7510 feet and 7512 feet. Any elevation above 7516.00 is considered a fill for the season.Releases from Crystal are currently ramping down from meeting target peak flows and is scheduled to reach a flow of 1,400 cfs for the rest of May. The Gunnison Diversion Tunnel started taking water for the new season on March 31, 2015. The current diversion rate in the tunnel is 1,000 cfs, which will result in a river flow below the diversion tunnel of approximately 400 cfs. However, these rates will most likely change as conditions warrant, primarily as we respond to changes in hydrologic conditions.
The next meeting of the "Aspinall Unit Working Group" will be held on Thursday, August 13, 2015 starting at 1:00 PM at the Elk Creek Visitor Center at Blue Mesa Reservoir. At this meeting, review of this spring’s reservoir operations, and plans for this fall and winter 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.
Updated May 12, 2015
Email comments/inquires to: ResourceMgr@usbr.gov