Last Updated: December 21, 2021
Aspinall Unit Reservoirs – As of December 20, 2021 releases from Crystal Dam are approximately 325 cfs. Gunnison Tunnel diversions have terminated for the irrigation season. Flows of the Gunnison River in the Black Canyon are being maintained at about 310 cfs.
The unregulated inflow volume in November to Blue Mesa was 26,536 af (88 percent of average). Unregulated Inflow volumes forecasted for Blue Mesa for the next three months (December, January and February) are projected to be: 19,000 af (76 percent of average), 18,000 af (75 percent of average) and 16,000 af (73 percent of average), respectively. The December 24-Month Study is reflective of these new forecasts.
The 2022 median water year unregulated inflow volume is projected to be 689,000 af (74 percent of average). The water supply period (April-July) for 2022 is projected to be 480,000 af of unregulated inflow (75 percent of average).
In August, September and part of October, releases were increased as a response to a continual declining dry hydrologic condition for the Colorado River system. This drought operation was implemented under the Upper Basin Drought Response Operations Agreement. The maximum flexibility within the Aspinall Record of Decision was utilized under this drought operation to release 36.11 kaf more than what would have been released under normal operations for the hydrology that occurred during the period. The intent of this operation was to support Lake Powell to maintain hydropower operations.
Under the Aspinall Record of Decision (2012), base flow minimum targets flows, measured in the Whitewater Reach of the Gunnison River, are established for 6 categories of hydrological conditions. The category for this year is the dry category. The baseflow minimum target flow for dry category years during the months of August through March is 750 cfs in the Whitewater Reach. Flows in the Whitewater Reach are approximately 760 cfs.
Blue Mesa will not fill in water year 2021. Blue Mesa reached a peak elevation of 7,464.28 feet on June 22, 2021. The elevation reached a low elevation 7429.49 feet on November 1, 2021 with a storage level of 208,761 acre-feet (25% of full capacity). The elevation is now increasing.
The Aspinall Unit Operations 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 Operations 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.
The next Operations Group meeting will be held on January 20, 2022 at 1:00 pm MST. The meeting will be held virtually. Contact Erik Knight in the Grand Junction Area Office at (970) 248-0629 to get more information regarding this Operation Group meeting.