Aspinall Unit operations meeting summary

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From email from Reclamation (Dan Crabtree):

The August 27, 2009 meeting to coordinate Reclamation’s operation of the Aspinall Unit was held at the Blue Mesa Elk Creek Visitor Center. The meeting summary and associated handouts can be found at: http://www.usbr.gov/uc/wcao/water/rsvrs/mtgs/amcurrnt.html

Highlights of the operation meeting include:

April through July inflow to Blue Mesa was 772,000 af which is considered an average wet year. (The May 1 April – July forecasted inflow was 690,000 af.) The 31-year average is 720,000 af. 2008 inflow was 1,006,000 af.

Runoff was early and forecasted inflow increased significantly after May 15.

The Black Canyon water right has been quantified and this year’s average daily spring peak of 6,730 cfs in the Black Canyon exceeded the water right, which varies based on Blue Mesa Reservoir May 1 forecasted inflow. At Delta, flows peaked at 12,500 cfs with no significant problems reported. Flows in critical habitat peaked at 12,900 cfs as measured at Whitewater and there were 13 days above 8,070 cfs (half-bankfull). Endangered fish flow recommendations, based on May 1 forecast, would call for 10 days above 8,070 cfs and a peak of 8,070 cfs.

Ramping rates steeper than planned occurred as flows reached their peak causing safety and fishery concerns.

Blue Mesa filled and summer flows through the Black Canyon finally settled at around 1,000 cfs. Flows will decrease gradually in September to the 600-700 cfs range and then increase in late November and December to around 2,000 cfs for hydropower production.

If you have any suggestions on improving the operation meetings or summaries, please let us know. The next operation meeting will be on Thursday, January 21, 2010 in Montrose; location to be announced later.

More Aspinall Unit coverage here.

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