Runoff news

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From the Montrose Daily Press (Katharhynn Heidelberg):

Peak flows of up to 6,000 cubic feet per second can be expected on the Gunnison River within the next 10 days. The water release, made by the Bureau of Reclamation Thursday, is the first since a new flow regime established after litigation over river water in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park…

According to [BuRec Water Management Group Chief Dan Crabtree], the forecast for runoff into Blue Mesa Reservoir is 690,000 acre feet; the Black Canyon water right calls for a 24-hour peak flow of 5,864 cfs. Starting Thursday, side inflows from Crystal Reservoir began increasing each day and are to reach about 6,900 cfs by May 13. Releases will then drop off starting May 15 and level off at 1,900 cfs in the Black Canyon and Gunnison Gorge by May 21. The Crystal release should level off at about 2,800 cfs by that time, and the Gunnison Tunnel is taking 900 cfs. Though the tunnel’s capacity is 1,100 cfs, high flows from the Uncompahgre River mean the there’s no need to take full capacity through the tunnel, Crabtree said. Crystal Reservoir’s expected side inflows should maintain at a level that minimizes bypasses from Morrow Point, and the Morrow Point Reservoir will be adjusted as necessary. The Gunnison’s North Fork reached a peak Friday, of 4,500 cfs near Hotchkiss, which was earlier than was expected, Crabtree said.

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