Reclamation has received the May 15th runoff forecast from the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center which predicts the April through July runoff to Blue Mesa to be 40,000 ac-ft greater than previously estimated. This brings the most probable April through July runoff into Blue Mesa to 1.1 million ac-ft which is 153% of average. In addition, we have been gathering input from the public and resource agencies, including the State of Colorado, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service and others, to determine the spring release operation for the Aspinall Unit. These discussions have resulted in a general operation plan comprised of the following goals:
Attempt to maximize flows of the Gunnison River at Whitewater with a goal of reaching 14,000 cfs by adding flow to the descending limb of the North Fork peak.
Provide a peak of at least 6,000 cfs in the Black Canyon below the Gunnison Tunnel.
Attempt to minimize flooding at Delta
Based on information received from the Colorado River Basin Forecast Center on May 15th, the North Fork is most likely to peak around May 21st. Reclamation's attempt to match the descending limb of this peak will be dependent on the peak's magnitude and duration, but ramping up could begin toward the middle or end of the week of May 18th, with high releases from Crystal continuing through the Memorial Day Weekend and a portion of the following week. These dates and flowrates are likely to change as runoff conditions fluctuate.
Please refer questions to Dan Crabtree at 970-248-0652