From email from Reclamation (Erik Knight):
The April 1st forecast for spring runoff to Blue Mesa Reservoir has been issued and the numbers keep dropping. This forecast now predicts 330,000 acre-feet of runoff between April and July, which is 49% of average. Warm and dry conditions have caused the forecast to drop 90,000 acre-feet since the mid-March forecast. The monthly runoff distribution also shows an increase in the April runoff volume while all other months decrease, indicating an early runoff. For comparison, this forecasted runoff volume is lower than every year’s runoff volume since 2000 except for 2002.
Given this information, flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon will be dropping to 400 cfs today, Wednesday, April 4th, as diversions through the Gunnison Tunnel increase.
Reclamation plans to operate the Aspinall Unit to allow the Black Canyon of the Gunnison River one day peak flow target to be met. Under the current forecast this target is approximately 960 cfs. The final determination of the spring peak target will be made upon issuance of the May 1st forecast by CBRFC.
Using the current forecast the peak flow target at the Whitewater gage is 900 cfs. Reclamation expects this flow target to be met in conjunction with the spring peak flows in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison River.
As a reminder, the April Aspinall Operations Meeting will be held in Reclamation’s Western Colorado Area Office, Grand Junction location, on April 26th beginning at 1:00 p.m.
More Aspinall Unit coverage here.