Navajo Reservoir

Navajo Dam

Current Status

Last Updated: September 16th, 2021

***Notices for the latest release changes are posted here. Email or call 970-385-6560 for questions***

Navajo ReservoirOn September 15th, the daily average release rate from Navajo Dam was 850 cfs while reservoir inflow was averaging approximately 183 cfs. The water surface elevation was 6027.03 feet above sea level. At this elevation the live storage is 0.979 maf (58 percent of live storage capacity) and the active storage is 0.317 maf (31 percent of active storage capacity). The Navajo Indian Irrigation Project (NIIP) is diverting 472 cfs.  The San Juan-Chama project is diverting 0 cfs from the basin above the reservoir. 
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. Releases target the San Juan River Recovery Implementation Program's recommended downstream baseflow range of 500 cfs to 1,000 cfs through the critical habitat reach of the San Juan River (Farmington, NM to Lake Powell).  Current modeling shows the release will most likely vary between 500 and 1,000 cfs to accomplish this for the remainder of summer and into the fall.

Preliminary modified unregulated inflow (MUI) into Navajo was 4,897 af, which was 13% of average for the month, and much lower than what was forecast for the month of August.  Monsoonal moisture benefited the west half of the San Juan River Basin but not as much on the eastern side. NIIP diverted a total of 39 kaf in August.

The final April-July MUI was 378 kaf, which was 51% of average.

The most probable MUI forecast for September, October, and November is 20,000 af (46 percent of average), 25,000 af (53 percent of average), and 25,000 af (75 percent of average), respectively.  As of September 15th, the total MUI for September has totaled -1561 af, so it is unlikely the forecast will be met.

In November and December of 2021, releases are scheduled to increase in response to a continual declining dry hydrologic condition for the Colorado River system.  This drought operation is implemented under the Upper Basin Drought Response Operations Agreement.  The maximum flexibility within the Record of Decision will be used to release an additional 20,000 af on top of base releases.  Approximately 10,000 af is planned for release in November, and 10,000 af is planned for release in December.  Currently, that release is planned as an increase of 1,000 cfs over the base release, for a total of 1300 cfs, for 10 days (November 25 - December 05). This plan may be modified as hydrologic conditions change.   Notification of releases will occur prior to the scheduled release change.

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 meeting will be held virtually on Tuesday, January 18th 2022, at 1:00 PM.


Susan Behery


Please contact the Operations Group via e-mail at for additional information.

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Last Updated: 9/16/21