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Crystal Spill

Aspinall Unit Reservoirs – May unregulated inflow into Blue Mesa Reservoir was 136,000 acre-feet or 62 percent of average.  The Gunnison River Basin spring peak was thought to occurred in early May, however with the onset of very heavy and frequent rainstorms, the basin inflows have been on the rise for the early part of June.  So far this season Blue Mesa has seen peak flows of over 10,000 cfs.  Blue Mesa's present elevation is 7519.15 feet, which corresponds to a storage content of about 827,000 acre-feet.  Precipitation during May was a whopping 255 percent of average. 

The June 15th Water Supply Forecast issued from the River Forecast Center called for an April-July inflow into Blue Mesa Reservoir of 650,000 acre-feet (96% of normal).  This is an increase of 80,000 acre-feet from the first of the month. At this time Reclamation is attempting to operate the Aspinall Unit at maximum water surface elevations which requires spills and bypasses as much as possible to control the large inflows.  Blue Mesa, Morrow Point, and Crystal Dams are spilling, with maximum powerplant and bypasses.  

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 1500 cfs for June and July.

Currently, diversions into the Gunnison Tunnel are about 900 cfs and flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon are near 7500 cfs.

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, 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.

Paul Davidson
Updated June 23, 2015

Email comments/inquires to: ResourceMgr@usbr.gov