Aspinall Unit update

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From email from Reclamation (Dan Crabtree):

Aspinall Operations 2010 Runoff Facts:

· Runoff has subsided in the Gunnison Basin.

· Blue Mesa Reservoir peaked at an elevation of 7508.9 on about June 29th. This is 10.5 ft below the top of the spillway gate.

· June runoff into Blue Mesa was 205,000 ac-ft, 70% of average.

· The July runoff volume is projected to be 75,000 ac-ft, 75% of average, bringing the projected April – July runoff to 520,000 ac-ft, 72% of average.

· Releases from Crystal Reservoir are currently about 1,650 cfs, the Gunnison Tunnel is diverting 1,000 cfs leaving 650 cfs in the Black Canyon and Gunnison Gorge. This flow will be maintained unless hydrologic conditions dictate otherwise.

Due to a variety of scheduling conflicts, the Aspinall Operations Meeting has been rescheduled …. again. Please get out your eraser and pencil and mark Thursday, September 2nd as the date for the 2010 “August” Aspinall Operations meeting. It will be held at the Elk Creek Visitors Center at Blue Mesa Reservoir starting at 1:00 p.m. We will be discussing the above runoff information in more detail as well as past and future operations. Hope to see you there.

More Aspinall Unit coverage here.

Fryingpan-Arkansas Project update

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From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

…we are reducing releases from Ruedi Dam to the Fryingpan by another 75 cfs. This will be the only change for the weekend. As a result, flows in the ‘Pan through the Holiday weekend should be about 225 cfs.

More Fryingpan-Arkansas Project coverage here.

Colorado-Big Thompson Project update

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From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

About an hour ago, we increased releases from Olympus Dam to about 450 cfs–an increase of about 250 cfs. We are bypassing some of the runoff from last night’s rain above the Estes Park area. If more rain materializes today, it is possible we could maintain the 450 cfs into the weekend. If the heat continues, we could scale releases back tonight.

As always, recreators should keep an eye on the gage before going up to the river as the conditions are subject to change.

From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

This afternoon, we will cease pumping to Carter Lake Reservoir and increase the flows to Horsetooth Reservoir. By this evening, Horsetooth should be receiving approximately 515 cfs. Water users are currently pulling about 200 cfs from the reservoir.

Carter and Horsetooth are still near full. Carter is currently at a water level elevation of 5758–about one foot below full. Horsetooth is slowly beginning to drop a little bit and is at an elevation of 5426–about four feet down from full.

More Colorado-Big Thompson coverage here.

Great Outdoors Colorado Grant to be used to preserve open space near Prewitt Reservoir

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From the Sterling Journal Advocate:

The Colorado Great Outdoors (GOCO) Board has awarded Colorado Open Lands (COL) $452,043 for the Prewitt Reservoir Conservation project in Logan and Washington counties. COL will purchase conservation easements over two adjacent ranches covering 4,370 acres in the South Platte River Corridor in northwest Washington and southwest Logan Counties. The ranches lie between Prewitt Reservoir and Interstate 76 and serve as large areas of open space that provide highly scenic views of the reservoir and a rural landscape to travelers along I-76. They both support local agriculture, with one as a self-contained cattle ranch and alfalfa farm and the other leased annually for seasonal grazing. Due to their proximity to Prewitt Reservoir and the Prewitt Reservoir State Wildlife Area, both properties provide important wildlife habitat for white-tailed dear and waterfowl and create a contiguous protected area of almost 7,400 acres. Water on one ranch is provided by seep from the reservoir and the landowner intends to acquire additional water rights for wetlands improvements in the future. The other ranch has two adjudicated irrigation wells that will be tied to the land with easement.

The South Platte River Basin is being threatened by demand for water for Front Range cities and other residential development and 94 percent of the corridor is still unprotected.

More South Platte Basin coverage here.

CWCB: Supply uncertainty dogs the Colorado River Water Availability Study

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The final version of phase one of the study will be considered by the Colorado Water Conservation Board after a four-month review period ends on July 21. The study received $700,000 in legislative funding in 2007-08. But the conclusions of the study provide little certainty about the amount of water left for Colorado to develop under the Colorado River Compact — it could be anywhere from nothing to 900,000 acre-feet — or how the water would be used…

In the last five years, there has been a heightened concern about the ability of the river to deliver water if there were a call from downstream states, as well as the possibility of changing climate conditions that could alter the hydrology of the Colorado River. Politically, the study has been a sort of hinge in discussions on future water projects that could take even more water over the Continental Divide. Two water projects are looking at bringing water to Colorado from the Flaming Gorge Reservoir and the Green River in Wyoming, and at least four other concepts have been proposed to deliver water from various points in the basin. “The Colorado River is one of the most important sources of water supply for the state,” said Jennifer Gimbel, executive director of the CWCB in January. “Colorado needs solid information in order to make smart decisions about future water development.”[…]

[Study] conclusions:

– Basin roundtables need to refine state estimates about future use.

– Climate change will affect both future water supply and demand, but models do not agree on what the impact will be.

– Some of the models suggest Colorado has no water left for development.

– Models of water use in the study do not take into account changes in future use, but only extend historic use patterns.

– Decision support systems need to reflect transmountain diversions.

More Colorado River Basin coverage here.

Fryingpan-Arkansas Project public operations meeting

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From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

We decreased releases [Wednesday] from Ruedi. It was a slight decrease of about 20 cfs. With the Rocky Fork, the Fryingpan River gage at Ruedi Dam is currently reading 308 cfs.

To learn more about what our releases might look like later this summer, I invite you all to attend our second public operations meeting for the year. This one will be held Wednesday, July 14, at the Basalt Town Hall, 101 Midland Avenue, Basalt, Colo. from 7:00—9:00 p.m. The meeting will provide an overview of Ruedi Reservoir operations during this year’s spring run-off as well as projected operations for late summer and early fall, key fishing seasons in Basalt.

More Fryingpan-Arkansas Project coverage here.