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Crystal Spill

Aspinall Unit Reservoirs – November unregulated inflow into Blue Mesa Reservoir was 37,000 acre-feet or 119 percent of average.  Precipitation during November was observed to be about 115 percent of average.  The current inflow rate into Blue Mesa Reservoir is about 600 cfs while reservoir releases are averaging about 300 cfs.  Blue Mesa's present elevation is 7491.03 feet, which corresponds to a storage content of about 589,000 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 are currently set at 1100 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 the exception of when the tunnel is taking water to refill Fairfield Reservoir for Montrose municipal water needs.

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 late summer and early fall rains and flows are expected to stay above the December baseflow target for the foreseeable future.

On December 1, 2014, 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 December, January, and February is for 76,000 acre-feet, which is 106% of average for these months.

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 January 22rd 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 December 15, 2014

Email comments/inquires to: ResourceMgr@usbr.gov