Reservoir operations are based primarily on the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center's (www.cbrfc.noaa.gov
) inflow forecasts, issued twice a month. The most probable forecast is a coordinated forecast between CBRFC and NRCS (the SNOTEL guys). The CBRFC's model should account for low elevation snow and soil moisture. I think the low soil moisture sitting under the snowpack is most critical to the amount of runoff seen from low elevation snow. This is similar to 2008 when there was little soil moisture due to a very dry fall (and this fall was drier). I remember thinking that the Animas was going to run early in 2008 with the low snowpack, but it never really happened.
For the last couple years, the McPhee Operations has been the responsibility of the water district and not Reclamation. However, Reclamation is still involved in the process.
I don't do the operations for McPhee, but if you have questions about the current hydrologic conditions and operations in the San Juan Basin, feel free to contact me at 970-385-6590 (direct) or rchristianson "at" usbr "dot" gov