Click the link to read the article on The Crested Butte News website (Katherine Nettles). Here’s an excerpt:
UGRWCD senior water resource specialist Beverly Richards reported that the Gunnison River at the Gunnison Whitewater Park was flowing at 3,210 cubic feet per second (CFS) last weekend, and is very close to peaking. Richards said there is currently only one small portion of Gunnison County to the west that is facing drought, and the three month outlook shows drought conditions not recurring with the exception of a few areas to the north. Richards reported that precipitation has generally been within the historic normal range in the past 30 days, while snow water equivalent (SWE) maps show 193% of normal for the entire Gunnison Basin and 153% of normal for the upper basin. SNOTEL sites where SWE is measured are melting out. “But that was for May 19,” she said, which reflects that in May there isn’t usually much snow left.
The entire Gunnison Basin water storage is at 75% of average; reservoir storage for the Upper Gunnison Basin is 61%; and projected unregulated inflow for Blue Mesa Reservoir is at 131% of average. Richards said Blue Mesa is projected to be 97% full with a max fill amount of 102,869 acre feet. There is no indication from the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) as of yet about how much water might be called downstream.
“Reservoir storage across the Upper Colorado River is going up, but Lake Powell is expected to only be about 37% full,” said Richards, due to the volume that will come out. For perspective, she offered an estimate that Lake Powell could be filled in three years if the region had the same kind of snowy year as 2023, and if no one took water out. With the reality of outflows, however, she said it would take 6 to 8 years with winters like this one to refill Lake Powell.