Originally Posted by suigeneris
Spoke with Mark at Santa Fe ranger office and he said they are releasing for irrigation demand already and to meet minimum reserve levels at reservoir below Vado. He also thought 300cfs for a kayak would be barely acceptable for an enjoyable trip thru chama canyon due to headwinds and lack of current. Does any of this sound about right?
They did kick it up to ~170CFS, if that's what he means by releasing - here's the gauge below the dam:
USGS Current Conditions for USGS 08285500 RIO CHAMA BELOW EL VADO DAM, NM
300 sounds like an appropriate minimum, although the lowest I've ever gone is ~450 and that was just the lower portion day trip.
Albuquerque still gets the majority of drinking water from the aquifer, and there's Abiquiu and Cochiti lakes downstream from El Vado to release water for irrigation. There is no irrigation between El Vado and Abiquiu, so whether they release significant water from Heron and El Vado this year is completely optional, although I don't know all the legal details.
Here's your lake levels (they have been dumping water from Heron into El Vado since I last checked):
NWCC - Reservoir Storage Graph
I hope everyone has a great Chama float this summer, but I'm very very nervous and am looking elsewhere this year. (I also didn't pull a permit so I'm figuring weekdays and shoulder season are much more at risk than weekend permit holders).