Aspinall Unit operations meeting summary: Blue Mesa won’t fill this season

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From email from Reclamation (Erik Knight):

The meeting notes from the Aspinall Unit Operations Meeting have been posted to the website and are available at the following link:

http://www.usbr.gov/uc/wcao/water/rsvrs/mtgs/amcurrnt.html

Below is a summary of our April 26, 2012 meeting to coordinate Reclamation’s operation of the Aspinall Unit. The meeting was held in Reclamation’s Grand Junction Office. Significant items discussed included:

· Blue Mesa April through July inflow is predicted at 315,000 acre feet (af) based on April 15 data; in January the prediction was 450,000 af. The 315,000 af represents a dry category year and results from low precipitation over the last 4 months. This low level of inflow would be expected to be exceeded in 96-97 percent of years. In contrast, last year the inflow was 893,000 af, representing a moderately wet year.
· Blue Mesa Reservoir is not predicted to fill and releases from the Aspinall Unit to the Gunnison River will be lower than normal.
· Based on this April 2012 forecast, the Black Canyon National Park water right would call for a 1 day peak of 937 cfs and Flow Recommendations for endangered fish would call for a 900 cfs peak at Whitewater.

The forecast for runoff into the Aspinall Unit is expected to continue to drop which will result in a change to the Black Canyon National Park water right peak flow target. Currently river flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon are 390 cfs. Operations during the summer months will primarily be dictated by downstream demands.

If you have any suggestions on improving the operation meetings or summaries, please let us know. The next operation meeting will be on Thursday, August 9th at the Elk Creek Visitors Center on Blue Mesa.

More Aspinall Unit coverage here.

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