Aspinall Unit operations update

Aspinall Unit dams

From email from Reclamation (Erik Knight):

The May 15th forecast for the April – July unregulated inflow volume to Blue Mesa Reservoir is 825,000 acre-feet. This is 122% of the 30 year average. Blue Mesa Reservoir current content is 681,000 acre-feet which is 82% of full. Current elevation is 7502.4 ft. Maximum content at Blue Mesa Reservoir is 829,500 acre-feet at an elevation of 7519.4 ft.

Based on the May 1st forecast, the Black Canyon Water Right peak flow target is listed below:

Black Canyon Water Right

The peak flow target is equal to 6,427 cfs for a duration of 24 hours.

The shoulder flow target is 831 cfs, for the period between May 1 and July 25.

The May 15th forecast of 825,000 af is now in the Average Wet category and the Aspinall Unit ROD flow targets have changed. Based on the May 15th forecast, the flow targets are listed below:

Aspinall Unit Operations ROD

The year type is currently classified as Average Wet.

The peak flow target is 14,040 cfs and the duration target at this flow is 2 days.

The half bank-full target is 8,070 cfs and the duration target at this flow is 20 days.

The spring peak operation has reached peak release level. The release increase made this morning, May 24th, should result in the first day of flows > 14,000 cfs at the Whitewater gage, arriving by the afternoon of May 25th. Today, flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon have reached 11,500 cfs. The current rate of release is planned to continue through Sunday, May 28th. At this time it is projected that there is additional water that needs to be released from the Aspinall Unit to prevent overfilling at Blue Mesa Reservoir, therefore the peak release is continuing to meet more than the 2 day duration target.

@USBR: President Proposed $1.1 Billion Fiscal Year 2018 Budget for Bureau of Reclamation

Crystal Dam, part of the Colorado River Storage Project, Aspinall Unit. Credit Reclamation.

Here’s the release from the US Bureau of Reclamation (Dan DuBray):

President Donald Trump proposed a $1.097 billion Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget for the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation. The budget supports the Administration’s and Interior’s goals of ensuring the efficient generation of American energy, provision of secure water supplies, varied use of resources, celebration of America’s recreation opportunities and fulfilling commitments to tribal nations.

“President Trump promised the American people he would cut wasteful spending and make the government work for the taxpayer again, and that’s exactly what this budget does,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “Working carefully with the President, we identified areas where we could reduce spending and also areas for investment, such as addressing the maintenance backlog in our National Parks and increasing domestic energy production on federal lands. The budget also allows the Department to return to the traditional principles of multiple-use management to include both responsible natural resource development and conservation of special places. Being from the West, I’ve seen how years of bloated bureaucracy and D.C.-centric policies hurt our rural communities. The President’s budget saves taxpayers by focusing program spending, shrinking bureaucracy, and empowering the front lines.”

As the nation’s largest wholesale water supplier and second-largest producer of hydroelectric power, Reclamation’s projects and programs are an important driver of economic growth in the western States. Its mission is to manage, develop, and protect water and related resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner in the interest of the American public. Reclamation manages water for agricultural, municipal and industrial uses, and provides flood risk reduction and recreation for millions of people.

“President Trump’s budget for Reclamation shows his strong commitment to our mission of managing water and producing hydropower in the West,” Acting Commissioner Alan Mikkelsen said. “Reclamation’s infrastructure needs are also high in priority to keep dams safe for the public they serve.”

Reclamation’s expenditures are offset by current receipts in the Central Valley Project Restoration Fund of $41 million, resulting in net discretionary budget authority of $1.056 billion. The budget proposal for permanent appropriations in FY18 totals $97.5 million.

The proposal for Reclamation’s Water and Related Resources account of $960.0 million provides for five major program activities: Water and Energy Management and Development ($313.7 million), Land Management and Development ($44.2 million), Fish and Wildlife Management and Development ($153.0 million), Facility Operations ($296.0 million), and Facility Maintenance and Rehabilitation ($153.2 million). The funding proposed in Reclamation’s FY18 budget supports key programs important to the 17 Western States.

It emphasizes Reclamation’s core mission of reliable water delivery and hydropower generation to address the water demands of a growing population in an environmentally responsible and cost-efficient manner; and to assist states, tribes and local entities in solving water resource issues. It also emphasizes the operation and maintenance of Reclamation facilities in a safe, efficient, economic and reliable manner — ensuring systems and safety measures are in place to protect the public and Reclamation facilities.

The budget also supports water rights settlements to ensure sufficient resources to address the requirements of legislation passed by Congress to settle litigation. The request includes amounts for specific Indian water rights settlements that support tribal nations, including the newly enacted Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement.

The FY18 budget will continue to support and emphasize activities designed to prevent and combat the infestation of quagga and zebra mussels across Reclamation states. These invasive species are rapidly reproducing and have infested multiple operational areas of Reclamation facilities, impacting pumping capabilities for power and water operations, blocking water intake structures and affecting the ecosystems by feeding off existing algae resulting in a shift in native species and a disruption of the ecological balance. Research is continuing to find ways to impede the quagga and zebra mussels’ populations. Increased funding in FY18 will support Reclamation mussels’ activities framework established in the Quagga–Zebra Mussel Action Plan (QZAP) for Western U.S. Waters. This work is being pursued in close cooperation with the Western Governors Association, and includes a focus on working with states and tribes to keep invasive mussels from infecting the Columbia River Basin in the Pacific Northwest.

Reclamation’s dams, water conveyances and power generating facilities are critical components of the Nation’s infrastructure. Effectively managing these structures is among the many significant challenges facing Reclamation over the next several years and beyond. Reclamation’s FY18 budget reflects a very deliberate approach to addressing mission priorities.

Tribal Nations – Within Water and Related Resources in FY18, Reclamation is requesting a total of $151.3 million to support tribal nations’ efforts and initiatives. To meet Interior’s trust and treaty obligations, Reclamation’s budget request sets Indian water rights settlements among the highest priorities. In FY18, $98.6 million is requested for the Indian water rights settlements authorized under several legislative statutes, including the Claims Resolution Act of 2010, the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 and the newly enacted Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act of 2016. This includes funding of $67.8 million for the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project, $12.8 million for the Crow Tribe Water Rights Settlement, $8.0 million for the Aamodt Litigation Settlement, and $10.0 million for the Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement. The funding for the Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement represents Reclamation’s first contribution towards meeting its required contribution of $246.5 million by January 2025. In addition to requesting funding consistent with current activity, these settlements will draw on available mandatory funding to continue project activities. In FY18, the discretionary funds are requested within Water and Related Resources, as opposed to a separate appropriations account as requested in prior years.

Funding to support tribal nations is also included within a number of projects, including the Mni Wiconi Project for the required tribal operation and maintenance ($13.5 million), the Nez Perce Settlement within Columbia and Snake River Salmon Recovery Project ($7.1 million), the San Carlos Apache Tribe Water Settlement Act ($1.6 million) and the Ak Chin Indian Water Rights Settlement Act ($16.2 million).

Other aspects of the FY18 budget proposal include:

Central Valley Project Restoration Fund – This fund was established by the Central Valley Project Improvement Act, Title XXXIV of P.L. 102-575, Oct. 30, 1992. The budget of $41.4 million is expected to be offset by discretionary receipts totaling $41.4 million, which is the maximum amount that can be collected from project beneficiaries under provisions of Section 3407(d) of the Act. The discretionary receipts are adjusted on an annual basis to maintain payments totaling $30 million (October 1992 price levels) on a three-year rolling average basis. The budget of $41.4 million for the CVPRF was developed after considering the effects of the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement Act (P.L. 111-11, March 30, 2009) which redirects certain fees, estimated at $2 million in FY 2018, collected from the Friant Division water users to the San Joaquin Restoration Fund.

Dam Safety Program – The safety and reliability of Reclamation dams is one of Reclamation’s highest priorities. The Dam Safety Program is critical to effectively manage risks to the downstream public, property, project, and natural resources. The budget of $88.1 million for the Safety of Dams Evaluation and Modification Program provides for risk management activities at Reclamation’s high and significant hazard dams where loss of life or significant economic damage would likely occur if the dam were to fail. The budget also includes preconstruction and construction activities for several ongoing and planned Dam Safety modifications. In addition, funding is included in the budget for Interior’s Dam Safety Program, which Reclamation oversees.

Desalination and Water Purification Research Program – This program supports desalination research, development and demonstrations for the purpose of converting unusable waters into useable water supplies. The FY18 request of $2.9 million supports new and continued projects in the three funding areas: laboratory scale research studies, pilot-scale testing projects and full-scale testing projects. Funding also supports the operation and maintenance of Reclamation’s Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility, which supports testing of pilot-scale and full-scale testing projects, as well as potentially supporting work from Cooperative Research and Development Agreements that are in development, including one focused on produced waters from oil and gas extraction activities.

Science and Technology Program – The FY18 request at $11.1 million supports continued science and technology projects, water and power technology prize competitions, technology transfer, and dissemination/outreach activities addressing critical water and power management technical obstacles in water management, hydropower generation, infrastructure management and environmental compliance. The S&T Program also continues to develop improved methods for monitoring, detection and control of invasive mussels that continue to spread in the West, infesting Reclamation dams, power plants, and facilities of other water providers.

The Site Security program – The budget will continue Reclamation’s ongoing site-security program at $26.2 million, which includes physical security upgrades at key facilities, guards and patrols, anti-terrorism program activities and security risk assessments.

WaterSMART Program – The President’s proposed budget for Reclamation calls for $59.1 million for the WaterSMART Program — Sustain and Manage America’s Resources for Tomorrow — to assist communities in optimizing the use of water supplies by improving water management. The WaterSMART Program components include: WaterSMART Grants funded at $23.4 million; Basin Studies Program, $5.2 million; Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program, $21.5 million; Water Conservation Field Service program, $4.0 million; Cooperative Watershed Management program, $1.75 million; and the Drought Response program, $3.25 million.

The Bureau of Reclamation, throughout the 17 western states, is committed to helping meet the many water and power challenges of the West. Reclamation’s water and hydropower projects and activities throughout the western United States are a foundation for essential and safe water supplies, providing renewable hydropower energy and sustaining ecosystems supporting fish and wildlife, recreation and rural economies.

To view Reclamation’s budget request, see http://www.usbr.gov/budget.

@USBR Increases Releases from the Aspinall Unit to Meet Flow Targets on the Gunnison River

Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Here’s the release from the US Bureau of Reclamation (Justyn Liff/Erik Knight):

The Bureau of Reclamation began increasing releases from the Aspinall Unit, consisting of Blue Mesa, Morrow Point, and Crystal reservoirs on the Gunnison River, on May 14, 2017. The increased release will attempt to meet flow targets on the Gunnison River, designed to benefit endangered fish species downstream while continuing to meet the congressionally authorized purposes of the Aspinall Unit.

Flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon will increase at a minimum of 500 cubic-feet-per-second a day resulting in flows through the canyon that may reach 12,000 cfs by approximately May 23. Flows will remain around 11,500 cfs to 12,000 cfs for 3-5 days before incrementally decreasing toward a range of 5,000 cfs to 5,500 cfs around May 29.

Secretary Zinke Announces $23.6 Million for Water Reclamation and Reuse Projects and Studies

Water reuse via GlobalWarming.com.

Here’s the release from the US Bureau of Reclamation (Peter Soeth):

Bureau of Reclamation Funding Goes to Six Authorized Projects, Thirteen Feasibility Studies and Four Research Studies in California, Kansas, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Washington

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today announced that the Bureau of Reclamation awarded $23,619,391 to communities in seven states for planning, designing and constructing water recycling and re-use projects; developing feasibility studies; and researching desalination and water recycling projects. The funding is part of the Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse program.

“This funding provides essential tools for stretching limited water supplies by helping communities reclaim and reuse wastewater and impaired ground or surface waters,” said Secretary Zinke. “These tools are just part of the toolkit for bridging the gap between water supply and demand and thus making water supplies more drought-resistant. In addition to this funding, Reclamation is actively supporting state and local partners in their efforts to boost water storage capacity. ”

Title XVI Authorized Projects are authorized by Congress and receive funding for planning, design and/or construction activities on a project-specific basis. Six projects will receive $20,980,129. They are:

  • City of Pasadena Water and Power Department (California), Pasadena Non-Potable Water Project, Phase I, $2,000,000
  • City of San Diego (California), San Diego Area Water Reclamation Program, $4,200,000
  • Hi-Desert Water District (California), Hi-Desert District Wastewater Reclamation Project, $4,000,000
  • Inland Empire Utilities Agency (California), Lower Chino Dairy Area Desalination and Reclamation Project, $5,199,536
  • Padre Dam Municipal Water District (California), San Diego Area Water Reclamation Program, $3,900,000
  • Santa Clara Valley Water District (California), South Santa Clara County Recycled Water Project, $1,680,593
  • Title XVI Feasibility Studies are for entities that would like to develop new water reclamation and reuse feasibility studies. Thirteen projects will receive $1,791,561. They are:

  • City of Ada Public Works Authority (Oklahoma), Reuse Feasibility Study for the City of Ada, Oklahoma, $136,193
  • City of Bartlesville (Oklahoma), Feasibility Study to Augment Bartlesville Water Supply with Drought-Resilient Reclaimed Water, $150,000
  • City of Garden City (Kansas), Strategic Plan for Reuse Effluent Water Resources in Garden City, Kansas, and Vicinity, $65,368
  • City of Quincy (Washington), Quincy 1 Water Resource Management Improvement Feasibility Study for Comprehensive Wastewater Reuse and Water Supply Project, $150,000
  • El Paso Water Utilities – Public Services Board (Texas), Aquifer Storage-Recovery with Reclaimed Water to Preserve Hueco Bolson using Enhanced Arroyo Infiltration for Wetlands, and Secondary Reducing Local Power Plant Reclaimed Water Demand, $150,000
  • Kitsap County (Washington), Feasibility Study for a comprehensive water reuse project at the Kitsap County Kingston Wastewater Treatment Plant, $150,000.
  • Las Virgenes Municipal Water District (California), Pure Water Project Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, $150,000
  • North Alamo Water Supply Corporation (Texas), Feasibility Study of Energy-Efficient Alternatives for Brackish Groundwater Desalination for the North Alamo Water Supply Corporation, $90,000
  • Oklahoma Water Resources Board (Oklahoma), Feasibility Study of Potential Impacts of Select Alternative Produced Water Management and Reuse Scenarios, $150,000
  • Soquel Creek Water District (California), Pure Water Soquel – Replenishing Mid-County Groundwater with Groundwater with Purified Recycled Water, $150,000
  • Valley Center Municipal Water District (California), Lower Moosa Canyon Wastewater Recycling, Reuse, and sub-regional Brine Disposal Project, $150,000
  • Washoe County (Nevada), Northern Nevada Indirect Potable Reuse Feasibility Study, $150,000
    Weber Basin Water Conservancy District (Utah), Weber Basin Water Conservancy District Reuse Feasibility Study, $150,000
  • The Title XVI Program will provide funding for research to establish or expand water reuse markets, improve or expand existing water reuse facilities, and streamline the implementation of clean water technology at new facilities. Four projects will receive $847,701. They are:

  • City of San Diego (California), Demonstrating Innovative Control of Biological Fouling of Microfiltration/Ultrafiltration and Reverse Osmosis Membranes and Enhanced Chemical and Energy Efficiency in Potable Water, $300,000
  • City of San Diego (California), Site-Specific Analytical Testing of RO Brine Impacts to the Treatment Process, $48,526
  • Kansas Water Office (Kansas), Pilot Test Project for Produced Water near Hardtner, Kansas, $199,175
  • Las Virgenes Municipal Water District (California), Pure Water Project Las Virgenes-Truinfo Demonstration Project, $300,000
  • Reclamation provides funding through the Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program for projects that reclaim and reuse municipal, industrial, domestic or agricultural wastewater and naturally impaired ground or surface waters. Reclaimed water can be used for a variety of purposes, such as environmental restoration, fish and wildlife, groundwater recharge, municipal, domestic, industrial, agricultural, power generation or recreation.

    Since 1992, Title XVI funding has been used to provide communities with new sources of clean water, while promoting water and energy efficiency and environmental stewardship. In that time, approximately $672 million in federal funding has been leveraged with non-federal funding to implement more than $3.3 billion in water reuse improvements.

    #Snowpack/#runoff news: Big Thompson flows up

    Olympus Dam photo via the US Bureau of Reclamation.

    From The Loveland Reporter-Herald:

    The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has announced that it has begun to increase the amount of water it is releasing from Lake Estes into the Big Thompson River by way of Olympus Dam.

    The increase began Monday, according to the bureau on its Facebook page.

    The increase will go from the current level of 50 cubic feet per second (cfs) to about 100 cfs. The exact cfs released will depend on inflows into Lake Estes, but the range will be between 50 cfs and 100 cfs, the announcement said.

    A cubic foot of water is equivalent to 7.48 gallons. That means there are 748 gallons in 100 cubic feet of water. The average American home uses 400 gallons of water a day, or about half of the flow when it’s 100 cubic feet.

    The release from the lake into the river is expected to increase through the spring as the annual runoff flows increase.

    The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation owns and operates Lake Estes and Olympus Dam as part of the federal trans-basin diversion Colorado-Big Thompson water project.

    Water level and runoff information regarding Olympus Dam and Lake Estes can be found on the Bureau’s Facebook page at http://facebook.com/LakeEstesandOlyDam.

    Aspinall unit operations update

    Aspinall Unit

    From email from Reclamation (Erik Knight):

    The April 15th forecast for the April – July unregulated inflow volume to Blue Mesa Reservoir is 850,000 acre-feet. This is 126% of the 30 year average. Snowpack in the Upper Gunnison Basin is currently 124% of average. Blue Mesa Reservoir current content is 623,000 acre-feet which is 75% of full. Current elevation is 7495.3 ft. Maximum content at Blue Mesa Reservoir is 829,500 acre-feet at an elevation of 7519.4 ft.

    Black Canyon Water Right

    The peak flow and shoulder flow components of the Black Canyon Water Right will be determined by the May 1 forecast of the April – July unregulated inflow volume to Blue Mesa Reservoir. If the May 1 forecast is equal to the current forecast of 850,000 acre-feet of runoff volume, the peak flow target will be equal to 6,427 cfs for a duration of 24 hours. The shoulder flow target will be 831 cfs, for the period between May 1 and July 25. The point of measurement of flows to satisfy the Black Canyon Water Right is the Gunnison River below Gunnison Tunnel streamgage at the upstream boundary of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

    Aspinall Unit Operations ROD

    Pursuant to the Aspinall Unit Operations Record of Decision (ROD), the peak flow and duration flow targets in the lower Gunnison River, as measured at the Whitewater gage, will be determined by the forecast of the April – July unregulated inflow volume to Blue Mesa Reservoir and the hydrologic year type. At the time of the spring operation, if the forecast is equal to the current forecast of 850,000 acre-feet of runoff volume, the hydrologic year type will be set as Moderately Wet. Under a Moderately Wet year the peak flow target will be 14,350 cfs and the duration target at this flow will be 10 days. The duration target for the half bankfull flow of 8,070 cfs will be 40 days.

    Projected Spring Operations

    During spring operations, releases from the Aspinall Unit will be made in an attempt to match the peak flow of the North Fork of the Gunnison River to maximize the potential of meeting the desired peak at the Whitewater gage, while simultaneously meeting the Black Canyon Water Right peak flow amount. The magnitude of release necessary to meet the desired peak at the Whitewater gage will be dependent on the flow contribution from the North Fork of the Gunnison River and other tributaries downstream from the Aspinall Unit. Current projections for spring peak operations show that flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon could be over 9,000 cfs for 10 days in order to achieve the desired peak flow and duration at Whitewater. If actual flows on the North Fork of the Gunnison River are less than currently projected, flows through the Black Canyon could be even higher. With this runoff forecast and corresponding downstream targets, Blue Mesa Reservoir is currently projected to fill to an elevation of around 7507 feet with an approximate peak content of 719,000 acre-feet.

    Aspinall Unit operations update

    Morrow Point Dam spilling June 2014 via USBR

    From email from Reclamation (Erik Knight):

    The April 1st forecast for the April – July unregulated inflow volume to Blue Mesa Reservoir is 930,000 acre-feet. This is 138% of the 30 year average. Snowpack in the Upper Gunnison Basin is currently 147% of average. Blue Mesa Reservoir current content is 582,000 acre-feet which is 70% of full. Current elevation is 7490.1 ft. Maximum content at Blue Mesa Reservoir is 829,500 acre-feet at an elevation of 7519.4 ft.

    Black Canyon Water Right

    The peak flow and shoulder flow components of the Black Canyon Water Right will be determined by the May 1 forecast of the April – July unregulated inflow volume to Blue Mesa Reservoir. If the May 1 forecast is equal to the current forecast of 930,000 acre-feet of runoff volume, the peak flow target will be equal to 6,575 cfs for a duration of 24 hours. The shoulder flow target will be 921 cfs, for the period between May 1 and July 25. The point of measurement of flows to satisfy the Black Canyon Water Right is the Gunnison River below Gunnison Tunnel streamgage at the upstream boundary of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

    Aspinall Unit Operations ROD

    Pursuant to the Aspinall Unit Operations Record of Decision (ROD), the peak flow and duration flow targets in the lower Gunnison River, as measured at the Whitewater gage, will be determined by the forecast of the April – July unregulated inflow volume to Blue Mesa Reservoir and the hydrologic year type. At the time of the spring operation, if the forecast is equal to the current forecast of 930,000 acre-feet of runoff volume, the hydrologic year type will be set as Moderately Wet. Under a Moderately Wet year the peak flow target will be 14,350 cfs and the duration target at this flow will be 10 days. The duration target for the half bankfull flow of 8,070 cfs will be 40 days.

    Projected Spring Operations

    During spring operations, releases from the Aspinall Unit will be made in an attempt to match the peak flow of the North Fork of the Gunnison River to maximize the potential of meeting the desired peak at the Whitewater gage, while simultaneously meeting the Black Canyon Water Right peak flow amount. The magnitude of release necessary to meet the desired peak at the Whitewater gage will be dependent on the flow contribution from the North Fork of the Gunnison River and other tributaries downstream from the Aspinall Unit. Current projections for spring peak operations show that flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon could be over 8,500 cfs for 10 days in order to achieve the desired peak flow and duration at Whitewater. If actual flows on the North Fork of the Gunnison River are less than currently projected, flows through the Black Canyon could be even higher. With this runoff forecast and corresponding downstream targets, Blue Mesa Reservoir is currently projected to fill to an elevation of around 7518 feet with an approximate peak content of 816,000 acre-feet.