Grand Canyon, Colorado River Flows - April, May, & June - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 04-01-2018   #1
 
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Grand Canyon, Colorado River Flows - April, May, & June

Grand Canyon, Colorado River Flows - April, May, and June

This is a March 29, 2018, update from Paul Davidson at Glen Canyon Dam.

The release volume from Glen Canyon Dam for April, 2018, will be 705,000 acre-feet. Hourly releases during April, 2018, are anticipated to fluctuate between approximately 8,650 cfs in the nighttime and 15,000 cfs in the daytime.

The anticipated release volume for May, 2018, is 705,000 acre-feet with daily fluctuations between approximately 7,900 cfs in the nighttime and 14,250 cfs in the daytime.

The anticipated release volume for June, 2018, is about 760,000 acre-feet. This will be confirmed in a subsequent notification toward the end of April. Please note, the monthly volumes for May and June are set, but the hourly patterns may differ if the anticipated LTEMP Bug Flow experiment proceed forth. (GCPBA note - Read about that here: The Bugflow Experiment).

In addition to daily scheduled fluctuations for power generation, the instantaneous releases from Glen Canyon Dam may also fluctuate to provide 40 MW of system regulation. These instantaneous release adjustments stabilize the electrical generation and transmission system and translate to a range of up to about 1,200 cfs above or below the hourly scheduled release rate. Under system normal conditions, fluctuations for regulation are typically short lived and generally balance out over the hour with minimal or no noticeable impacts on downstream river flow conditions.

Releases from Glen Canyon Dam can also fluctuate beyond scheduled releases when called upon to respond to unscheduled power outages or power system emergencies. Depending on the severity of the system emergency, the response from Glen Canyon Dam can be significant, within the full range of the operating capacity of the power plant for as long as is necessary to maintain balance in the transmission system. Glen Canyon Dam currently maintains 27 MW (approximately 800 cfs) of generation capacity in reserve in order to respond to a system emergency even when generation rates are already high. System emergencies occur fairly infrequently and typically require small responses from Glen Canyon Dam. However, these responses can have a noticeable impact on the river downstream of Glen Canyon Dam.

The operating tier for water year 2018 was established in August 2017 as the Upper Elevation Balancing Tier, with an initial water year release volume of 8.23 maf and the potential for an April 2018 adjustment to equalization or balancing releases. Based on the current forecast, an April adjustment to balancing is projected to occur and Lake Powell is currently projected to release 9.0 maf in water year 2018. This projection will be updated each month throughout the water year. Reclamation will schedule operations at Glen Canyon Dam to achieve as practicably as possible the appropriate total annual release volume by September 30, 2018.

Paul Davidson, Hydraulic Engineer, Glen Canyon Dam

Bureau of Reclamation 125 S. State St. Salt Lake City, UT 84138 Ph: 801-524-3642

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Old 04-21-2018   #2
 
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Here is an April 17 update from Paul at the Glen Canyon Dam, with further details about the "Bug Flow Experiment":

The release volume from Glen Canyon Dam for April, 2018, will be 705,000 acre-feet. Hourly releases during April, 2018, are anticipated to fluctuate between approximately 8,650 cfs in the nighttime and 15,000 cfs in the daytime.

The anticipated release volume for May, 2018, is 705,000 acre-feet with daily fluctuations between approximately 7,050 cfs in the nighttime and 13,390 cfs in the daytime.

The expected release volume for June, 2018, is 760,000 acre-feet with daily fluctuations between approximately 8,850 cfs in the nighttime and 16,450 cfs in the daytime.

The Glen Canyon Dam Experimental Technical Team (Technical Team) recommends that experimental Macroinvertebrate Production Flows (Bug Flows) be implemented at Glen Canyon Dam beginning May 1 through August 31, 2018.

(GCPBA note - Read about "Bug Flow" here: The Bugflow Experiment).

The Bug Flow experiment consists of steady weekend releases from Glen Canyon Dam and normal fluctuating releases during the weekdays. The steady weekend flows are expected to provide favorable conditions for insects to lay eggs along the Colorado River downstream of Glen Canyon Dam, while the minimum flows on weekdays are designed to be similar to flows on the weekends, thus preventing the eggs from drying out. Performing this experiment will not affect the Monthly or Weekly planned release volumes. The affect will only be to the daily distribution volumes, and the peak and low daily flow rates.

At this time we do not have a firm confirmation for a Bug Flow event. However, a final determination for this experiment will likely be made near the end of April.

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Old 04-22-2018   #3
 
Colo Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
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Thanks for the info of the Bug Flow. I'll watch out for it as I float the river starting this week!

Good to see more work about the dam effects and adjusting flow releases for environmental reasons.

Now if they can only figure out a way to get the silt from many miles above the dam down into the river below it! Without it costing billions of dollars.

Over the years I've seen many beaches at Grand Canyon camps become virtually gone. It's very sad to float past Carbon and Lower Tapeats and Clear Creek, for example, and remember the way they used to be.
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