#ColoradoRiver: Reclamation Awards $17.8 Million Contract for Generator Rewinds and Excitation System Replacements for Wayne N. Aspinall Unit

Aspinall Unit dams
Aspinall Unit dams

Here’s the release from the US Bureau of Reclamation (Marlon Duke):

The Bureau of Reclamation awarded Toshiba America Energy Systems of Colorado a $17.8 million contract on Friday, June 10, 2016, to overhaul two generators, install new stator cores and frames, and improve oil and air cooling systems for its Wayne N. Aspinall Unit. Additional work will include new digital excitation systems for Blue Mesa, Morrow Point and Crystal power plants near Montrose, Colorado.

Work performed under this contract will replace update existing equipment to allow generation at full rated capacity and improve responsiveness to the dynamic demands of the electrical grid.

Each of the Unit’s power plants and dams are used to generate hydroelectric power and control water flow in the Gunnison River. The Wayne N. Aspinall Unit has a combined generating capacity of 291,000 kW.

Blue Mesa, Morrow Point and Crystal power plant and dams are part of Reclamation’s Wayne N. Aspinall Unit of the Colorado River Storage Project, which retains the waters of the Colorado River and its tributaries for agricultural and municipal use. The project furnishes the long-term regulatory storage needed to permit States in the upper basin to meet their flow obligation at Lees Ferry, Arizona, as defined in the Colorado River Compact and still use their apportioned water.

#Snowpack #Runoff news: The Summer Water Picture Not Quite as Rosy This Year — The Crested Butte News

Gunnison River Basin High/Low graph June 1, 2016 via the NRCS.
Gunnison River Basin High/Low graph June 1, 2016 via the NRCS.

From The Crested Butte News (Alissa Johnson):

Snowpack across the Gunnison River Basin is below normal, particularly in the East River Basin where the predicted streamflow for the April through July runoff season is 78 percent of normal.

Spring runoff for the East River is likely to peak within the next few days. “The long-term average peak occurs on June 11, so this year’s peak seems to be on track or a few days earlier than normal,” Kugel said.

Reservoir conditions look to be quite different from last year. Last June, both the Taylor Park and Blue Mesa Reservoirs came within inches of spilling over. This coming summer, Taylor Park Reservoir is projected to reach somewhere between 90 percent and 95 percent of full and Blue Mesa is projected to reach 83 percent of capacity.

Kugel attributes the difference to a slightly better snowpack in the Taylor Park area and a recent 10-day peak flow release from Blue Mesa in accordance with a record of decision for the Aspinall Environmental Impact Study. Water was released for the lower Gunnison River for endangered fish habitat.

“Blue Mesa should start filling again but dropped several thousand acre-feet during the release and is currently at 69 percent of capacity,” Kugel said.

The Taylor Park Reservoir is currently at 72 percent of capacity and is in the midst of its peak release of 450 cubic feet per second (cfs), which started Tuesday, May 31 and runs through Saturday, June 4.

“We do that both to satisfy privately held instream flow rights on the Taylor River and to help flush sediments from the streambed and improve the fishery on the Taylor River. Once the release is complete, it will be stepped back down to 300 cfs over the course of a few days and it should remain at that for the month of June,” Kugel said.

That will make for good flows for several June events featuring local waterways. This year’s Gunnison River Festival, which features the annual river float and fish fry as well as events at the Whitewater Park, will take place just after the 41st annual Colorado Water Workshop.

Originally started by local historian Duane Vandenbusche and Gunnison water lawyer Richard Bratton, this year’s workshop features several authors, including Western Slope writer Craig Childs.

The Colorado Foundation for Water Education will also host a two-day tour of the Gunnison River Basin, providing an in-depth look at everything from Blue Mesa Reservoir to local irrigation practices and infrastructure to an organic farm and the Gunnison Whitewater Park.

The tour runs June 21-22; the Colorado Water Workshop runs June 22-24; and the Gunnison River Festival runs June 24-26.

Learn more at http://www.western.edu/academics/undergraduate/environment-sustainability/conferences/colorado-water-workshop.

#ColoradoRiver: Mesa Co State of the Rivers – May 12 at Grand Junction City Hall #COriver

mesacountystateoftheriverscmu

Click here for all the inside skinny.

Aspinall Unit operations update: Black Canyon peak flow target 5,000+ cfs over 10 days

Sunrise Black Canyon via Bob Berwyn
Sunrise Black Canyon via Bob Berwyn

From email from Reclamation (Erik Knight):

The May 1st forecast for the April – July unregulated inflow volume to Blue Mesa Reservoir is 525,000 acre-feet. This is 78% of the 30 year average. Based on the May 1st forecast, the Black Canyon Water Right and Aspinall Unit ROD peak flow targets are listed below:

Black Canyon Water Right

The peak flow target will be equal to 3,349 cfs for a duration of 24 hours.

The shoulder flow target will be 300 cfs, for the period between May 1 and July 25.

Aspinall Unit Operations ROD

The year type is currently classified as Average Dry

The peak flow target will be 8,070 cfs and the duration target at this flow will be 10 days.

Pursuant to the Aspinall Unit Operations ROD, 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 latest forecast for flows on the North Fork of the Gunnison River shows a peak of around 2,000 cfs occurring this weekend. This peak is followed by a couple days of lower flows and then higher flows are expected to return by the next weekend. If the forecast for flows on the North Fork of the Gunnison River continues to show a rise, the start of the ramp up towards the peak release may begin next week.

It is expected that the ramp up to the peak release will take 8 days. The current projection for spring peak operations shows flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon in the 5,000 to 5,500 cfs range 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 7499.0 feet with an approximate peak content of 654,000 acre-feet.

Grand Junction: Aspinall Unit operations meeting, April 28 #ColoradoRiver #COriver

Aspinall Unit
Aspinall Unit

From email from Reclamation (Erik Knight):

The next Aspinall Operations meeting will be on Thursday, April 28th at 1PM.

Location is at the Western Colorado Area Office in Grand Junction at 445 West Gunnison Ave #221.

Topics of discussion will include:

  • summary of the snow season
  • discussion of runoff forecasts
  • projected spring operations
  • spring/summer weather outlook
  • Gunnison Ag Producers’ Water Future Workshop, May 3 #COWaterPlan

    Ag Workshop Gunnison Flyer

    Click here to register.

    From the announcement:

    A Gunnison Basin Ag Producers’ Water Future Workshop will take place on Tuesday, May 3, 2016 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Delta-Montrose Technical College in the Enterprise Room. The Colorado Water Plan encourages the use of “alternative transfer methods” to keep water in agriculture while addressing the anticipated gap in future water supply given projected population growth. What does this mean for agricultural water users in the Gunnison Basin? Irrigators will hear about opportunities for cost sharing of efficiency improvements, water leasing programs, and concerns about “use it or lose it” at this workshop sponsored by the Colorado Ag Water Alliance with assistance from Colorado Cattlemen’s Association and CSU’s Colorado Water Institute.

    Brief presentations will be followed by dialogue in which agricultural producers will have a chance to discuss challenges and barriers to these opportunities. Those presenting include Carlyle Currier from the Colorado Ag Water Alliance, Frank Kugel from the Gunnison Basin Roundtable, State Engineer Dick Wolfe, Perry Cabot from Colorado State University Extension, Aaron Derwingson from The Nature Conservancy, Phil Brink from Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, and MaryLou Smith from CSU’s Colorado Water Institute.

    #ClimateChange impacting future water management — Ouray County Plain Dealer

    uncompahgreriver

    From the Ouray County Plain Dealer (Dalton Carver
):

    Nearly 40 million people in the seven Colorado River basin states rely on the body of water and its tributaries, including the Gunnison, for their water needs.

    However, climate change is being blamed for creating an imbalance in western water that could impact how Colorado River water is managed.

    If the imbalance is left unchecked, it could impair the ability of the Colorado River to fulfill the needs of the almost 40 million people it sustains.

    The 2016 SECURE report built upon the original basin studies that were published at the end of 2012.
    The climate change data, gathered by an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment, identified milestones, such as a temperature increase of five to seven degrees by the end of the century, as much as a seven percent decrease in April and July streamflow in several river basins and a decrease of precipitation over the southwest and south central areas of the country.

    “A whole bunch of global climate models that are run by various research institutions are part of putting that together,” said Carly Jerla, a BuRec leader on the Colorado River Basin study. “[The Bureau of] Reclamation teamed up with those groups to take those projections and downscale them into hydrology stream flows we can then use to do projections on how our river systems operate with those kind of climate change adjusted flows in place.”