Last Updated: April 10, 2019
Navajo Reservoir – As of April 9th, 2019, the daily average release rate from Navajo Dam is approximately 298 cfs while reservoir inflow is averaging approximately 2300 cfs. The water surface elevation is 6028.17 feet above sea level and is steadily increasing. At this elevation the live storage is 0.990 maf (58 percent of live storage capacity) and the active storage is 0.328 maf (32 percent of active storage capacity). The river flow measured at the San Juan River at Four Corners USGS gage is 1,310 cfs. River flow at the Animas River at Farmington USGS gage is at 1,120 cfs.
Releases from Navajo Dam are made for authorized purposes of the Navajo Unit and are pursuant to the Record of Decision for the Navajo Reservoir Operations, Navajo Unit – San Juan River New Mexico, Colorado, Utah Final Environmental Impact Statement. Releases from Navajo Dam are managed to attempt to maintain a target base flow through the endangered fish critical habitat reach of the San Juan River (Farmington to Lake Powell). The San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program (SJRIP) recommends a target base flow of between 500 cfs and 1,000 cfs through the critical habitat area. The target base flow is calculated as the weekly average of gaged flows throughout the critical habitat area.
Preliminary modified-unregulated inflow into Navajo (inflow adjusted for upstream change in storage, reservoir evaporation and exportation from the basin) in March was 113,738 af (123 percent of average for the month). SNOTEL sites above Navajo are at 150% of average with 29.8 inches of SWE on average per site.
Forecast modified-unregulated inflow to Navajo over the next three months (April, May and June) are projected to be: 198,000 af (116 percent of average), 340,000 af (123 percent of average), and 315,000 af (141 percent of average), respectively.
The April through July runoff forecasts are as follows:
Min Probable: 780,000 af (106 percent of average)
Most Probable: 920,000 af (125 percent of average)
Max Probable: 1,170,000 af (159 percent of average)
Based on current storage and long-term projections, Navajo has a 95% chance of filling to at least 6050 ft and a 50% chance of filling to at least 6060 ft in the spring of 2019. Based on current projections there are still no plans for a spring peak release, though a short-duration maintenance release is being planned. This proposed release would include a 5-7 day ramp up to 5,000 cfs, five days at 5,000 cfs, and a 3-day ramp back down to base release. The release would likely be timed to coincide with the peak on the Animas River. This proposed release is under consideration but has not been firmly scheduled and may change shape and timing.
Reclamation conducts Public Operations Meetings three times per year to gather input for determining upcoming operations for Navajo Reservoir. Input from individuals, organizations, and agencies along with other factors such as weather, water rights, endangered species requirements, flood control, hydro power, recreation, fish and wildlife management, and reservoir levels, will be considered in the development of these reservoir operation plans. In addition, the meetings are used to coordinate activities and exchange information among agencies, water users, and other interested parties concerning the San Juan River and Navajo Reservoir.
The next Navajo Unit Coordination Meeting will be held Tuesday, April 23rd at 1pm at the Farmington Civic Center (200 West Arrington, Farmington, NM). A public information meeting has also been scheduled for April 30th at 6pm in Bloomfield (915 North First Street, Bloomfield, NM).