2019 McPhee Release Update

March 20,2019:  The record snowfalls of early March have pushed forecasts up 50% driving the chances of a McPhee managed release, “spill”, over 50%.  Based on current low storage any spill would not start until mid to late May and could last from 2 to 4 weeks.  That leaves it almost 2 months out to monitor and plan.  Reclamation will set a public meeting in mid-April that we will post here ahead of time.  Next update will be around April 5 after the new CBRFC forecast. For the next few weeks releases below McPhee will remain at 40 CFS.

2019 McPhee Release Update

Thursday March 7, 2019:  McPhee is currently releasing 40 CFS for the downstream fishery. Releases in April will be planned later in March using CBRFC’s mid-month runoff forecast.

The CBRFC runoff forecasts for the McPhee basin have been growing rapidly through the season, and have surpassed the historical average runoff. More, the current snowpack is already greater than the historical average according to the SNOTEL sites in the basin. While it is still unlikely that there will be a spill (or managed release) in 2019, there is currently estimated to be a 10-15% probability of a small “fill-and-spill” type release occurring later during the runoff season this year, around late May at the earliest. Please note that this possibility is predicated on the continued higher-than-average precipitation as a result of the active atmospheric conditions this season as well as an average runoff pattern in the Dolores River basin.

We will continue to monitor conditions and will update this page in April with preliminary downstream release projections for the 2019 Water Year.

CBRFC Website: https://www.cbrfc.noaa.gov/wsup/graph/front/espplot_dg.html?year=2019&id=MPHC2

2019 McPhee Release Update

Wednesday February 20, 2019:  McPhee is currently releasing 28 CFS for the downstream fishery. Releases will continue at this rate until ramping up to 35 CFS at the end of the month, then 40 CFS in mid-March. Releases in April will be planned in March when the runoff forecast has had time to mature.

While the CBRFC runoff forecasts have been growing through the season, and are approaching the historical average, it is still highly unlikely that there will be a spill (or managed release) in 2019. This is due to the extremely low carryover in McPhee coming out of the 2018 shortage.

We will continue to monitor conditions and will update this page in April with preliminary downstream release projections for the 2019 Water Year.

CBRFC Website: https://www.cbrfc.noaa.gov/wsup/graph/front/espplot_dg.html?year=2019&id=MPHC2

McPhee Release Update April 30, 2018

Limited Fish Pool Releases Below McPhee

CBRFC forecasts have continued to fall as each storm passed by the upper Dolores watershed.  There will be no spill (managed release) in 2018.  The fish pool like the farmers will be shorted in 2018.  CPW continues to evaluate and update release amounts with each new forecast.  Fishery releases look to top out between 40 – 50 CFS over the summer.

Final numbers won’t be calculated until July, when CPW can make a final release schedule.  Current inflow forecasts continue to look similar to 2002, the worst year in Dolores Project (McPhee) records.  Only 1977 appears to be slightly drier than 2002 for the complete 100+ year Dolores River gaging record.

The Dolores Project irrigators, towns and fishery will use all of the current carry over storage in McPhee.  Next year’s supply will depend slightly on monsoons later this summer and mostly on next winter’s  snow pack.  Ending the 2018 water year with little to no carryover increases the risk of deeper Project shortage next 2019 irrigation season.

New 900 CFS ISF below the confluence with the San Miguel

A recent court case upheld the new 900 CFS instream flow right from April 15 to June 15 below the confluence of the San Miguel with the Dolores River.  These flows will only be available when snow pack produces sufficient natural runoff to provide 900 CFS from a combination of both rivers.  These new junior water rights do not affect senior water rights such as McPhee Reservoir diversions & releases, but may restrict additional new municipal supplies to Norwood, Naturita & Nucla.

2018 McPhee Release Update

Thursday March 15, 2018McPhee currently releasing 50 CFS for the downstream fishery. Releases will continue at this rate until ramping up to 66 CFS for tomorrow, which will continue to the end of the month. Releases in April are anticipated to be 50 CFS; however, due to the variability in the current runoff forecasts, planned downstream releases in April and beyond are subject to change. The runoff forecast has dropped since January: as of March 1st, the CBRFC 50% exceedance forecast for McPhee April through July inflows was only 113,000 AF. The SNOTEL sites are averaging only 46% of the median snow pack as of today, March 15th — down from the beginning of the month.

Based on these forecasts, it is highly unlikely that a controlled release from McPhee will occur this year.

We will update this page again in April with any new developments.

CBRFC Website: http://www.cbrfc.noaa.gov/wsup/graph/front/espplot_dg.html?year=2018&id=MPHC2

 

Current Notices:

Call 970-882-2164 Extension 5, 1 or 6 if you have questions.

Dolores River Boating Advocates:  www.doloresriverboating.org

American Whitewater: http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/385/.

Dolores Gage:    https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?09166500

McPhee Elevation & Capacity:  http://www.dwr.state.co.us/SurfaceWater/data/detail_tabular.aspx?ID=MCPRESCO&MTYPE=ELEV

Dolores below McPhee:  http://www.dwr.state.co.us/SurfaceWater/data/detail_graph.aspx?ID=DOLBMCCO&MTYPE=DISCHRG

Slickrock Gage:  https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?09168730

Bedrock Gage:          http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?09171100

DWCD 2018 Outlook for McPhee and Dolores Project Irrigators

Current forecast odds are barely enough for a full irrigation supply in 2018, with the CBRFC 50% forecast having dropped 20 KAF in the last month.  Carry over storage is likely to be low and threatens the 2019 supply.  More updates in early March.

CBRFC Exceedance Worst Case 90% 70% 50% – MP 30% 10%
Forecast Inflow  KAF

(April – July)

46 61 86 110 155 200
% Supply 77% 82% 95% 100% 100% 100%
FSA Contract Allocation Inches/Acre 17” 18” 21” 22” 22” 22”

 

MP – Most Probable, 50/50 chance, coin toss, median forecast based on historical weather & resulting hydrology.

FSA – Full Service Area, Yellow Jacket to Dove Creek (No adjustments are made to irrigation pools that could increase based on M&I lease, Class B & Water Bank)

The 30 year average April through July runoff for McPhee is 295,000 acre feet.  We have the potential to collect precipitation towards the spring runoff through May.

The grim February forecast followed January’s continuing lack of snow.  At the beginning of this month, there was only about 40% of the normal snow pack with a high pressure ridge is persisting over the western US, diverting the majority of precipitation to the north. Based on the current conditions the forecast only gives a 3% chance of the Dolores basin reaching average runoff this year. If the high pressure ridge breaks down in March we should see the storm track return to our area.  If high pressure remains we’ll continue missing more normal precipitation.

McPhee currently has 132,000 Acre Feet of active storage that can provide nearly half of the 2018 water diversion needs for our community.  This higher than normal carry over provides some insurance given the current conditions.  With inflows remaining on the low end, carryover into 2019 will be low and increase the potential for future shortages.

Dolores Project Municipal supplies are not subject to shortage based on contract and/or senior water rights in some cases.  This applies to MWC, Cortez, Towaoc and Dove Creek.

Contact Ken or Eric at 882-2164 #5 & #6 respectively or visit doloreswater.com.

Final Drought Contingency Plan Update

Final version of Dolores Project Drought Contingency Plan. See link below.

CLEAN Final Draft DPDCP with Reclamation Comments Addressed

2018 McPhee Release Update

Wednesday January 10, 2018McPhee currently releasing 40 CFS for the downstream fishery. Releases will continue at this rate until March 1st, when they will increase to 50 CFS, then to 64 CFS on March 16th. Current runoff forecasts for the Dolores are not optimistic, with a 50% probability that McPhee could receive only 130,000 AF this season, according to the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center. The SNOTEL sites are averaging only 31% of the median snow pack as of January 10th.

Based on current runoff forecasts, it does not look like a controlled release from McPhee is likely to occur this year.

We will update this page again in mid-February with any new developments.

CBRFC Website: http://www.cbrfc.noaa.gov/wsup/graph/front/espplot_dg.html?year=2018&id=MPHC2

 

Current Notices:

Call 970-882-2164 Extension 5, 1 or 6 if you have questions.

Dolores River Boating Advocates:  www.doloresriverboating.org

American Whitewater: http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/385/.

Dolores Gage:    https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?09166500

McPhee Elevation & Capacity:  http://www.dwr.state.co.us/SurfaceWater/data/detail_tabular.aspx?ID=MCPRESCO&MTYPE=ELEV

Dolores below McPhee:  http://www.dwr.state.co.us/SurfaceWater/data/detail_graph.aspx?ID=DOLBMCCO&MTYPE=DISCHRG

Slickrock Gage:  https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?09168730

Bedrock Gage:          http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?09171100

Drought Contingency Plan Update in Response to Reclamation Review

Latest version addressing Reclamation comments that will be discussed at the January 11th Board Meeting. See links below.

 

Letter to Boards January Board Meetings

 

Final Draft DPDCP with Reclamation Comments Addressed

Drought Contingency Plan – Update

 

Revised Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) is available below.

The attached version shows the redline changes incorporating public comments.  This includes the appendices where Appendix C contains all the public comments.  A revised schedule is included in the September 6, 2017 Harris Water Engineering Memo.  From this point forward the MVIC & DWCD Boards will direct the DCP to a final version for Reclamation review.  Any further comments should be directed to the appropriate Board.

Letter to Boards for review updated draft Plan

Draft Dolores Project Drought Contingency Plan with red lines 20170906

Appendix A and documents

Appendix B and documents

Appendix C coverpage

Public Comments 1 of 2

Public Comments 2 of 2