Aspinall Unit Reservoirs

Blue Mesa Reservoir

Current Status

Last Updated: June 14, 2019

Aspinall Unit Reservoirs – As of June 13, 2019 releases from Crystal Dam are approximately 5,100 cfs. Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association is diverting approximately 900 cfs through the Gunnison Tunnel and flows in the Black Canyon are about 4,200 cfs.  Releases from Aspinall are currently ramping down from the spring peak operations to meet Aspinall Record of Decision (ROD) peak flow targets for this year.  As described in the Aspinall ROD, based on the moderately wet hydrologic category of the forecasted April through July runoff into Blue Mesa Reservoir this year, the ROD peak flow target level this year has been 14,350 cfs measured in the Whitewater Reach of the Gunnison River.  Peak releases from Aspinall, timed with peak flows on the North Fork of the Gunnison River achieved 6 days above the peak flow target level this year.  Additionally, at least 20 days above half bank full levels (8,070 cfs) are expected to occur in the Whitewater Reach by the end of June.  

Inflows to Blue Mesa have been very significant in May and June with the elevation of Blue Mesa Reservoir increasing over 18 feet since May 1, 2019 despite the high releases that have been made from Aspinall during the spring peak operational period.  Inflows are expected to be very high for about 6 more weeks into late July.  By the end of July, Blue Mesa Reservoir is projected to be very nearly full at an elevation of approximately 7518 feet which is within 1.4 feet of full capacity.  This elevation corresponds to a storage level in Blue Mesa Reservoir of approximately 820,000 acre-feet which is 98.7 percent of full capacity.

The May unregulated inflow to Blue Mesa Reservoir was 214,400 af (97 percent of average). Unregulated Inflows to Blue Mesa for the next three months (June, July and August) are projected to be: 480,000 af (183 percent of average), 225,000 af (192 percent of average) and 82,000 af (130 percent of average), respectively.  The June 24-Month Study is reflective of these new forecasts.  The April through July unregulated inflow forecast volume for 2019 (issued June 4th) is 1,040 kaf which is 154 percent of average.  The water year unregulated inflow forecast volume for 2019 is 1,352 kaf which is 142 percent of average.

The Aspinall Unit Working Group is an open public forum for information exchange between Reclamation and the stakeholders of the Aspinall Unit. The public is encouraged to attend and comments on the operations and plans presented by Reclamation at these meetings. Meeting notes from past working Group meetings are posted on the Working Group webpage. For more information on this group and these meetings please contact Erik Knight in the Grand Junction Area Office at (970) 248-0629.

Meeting notes from past working Group meetings are posted on the Working Group webpage at:

https://www.usbr.gov/uc/wcao/water/rsvrs/mtgs/amcurrnt.html

The next meeting of the Aspinall Unit Working Group will be held on Tuesday, August 15, 2019 at 1:00 pm at the Elk Creek Visitor Center at Blue Mesa Reservoir.

To view the most current reservoir elevation, content, inflow and release, click on: Blue Mesa Reservoir Data or Crystal Reservoir Data. To view minutes from the last Aspinall meeting, click on: Meeting Notes.


Contact

Please contact the Operations Group via e-mail at ResourceMgr@usbr.gov for additional information.

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Last Updated: 6/14/19