Ready to rumble
Let the rigging begin. In case you don’t obsessively check the Dolores Water Conservancy’s updates, the spring spill on the Dolores has begun. On Tuesday, water managers began releasing 400 cfs from McPhee Dam. The releases are ramping up 400 cfs a day until flows of 1,200 are reached sometime Friday. This rate will hold through Memorial Day before ramping back down to 800 cfs on the morning of Tues., May 28. It is expected to stay at 800 cfs until at least noon Thurs., May 30.
From there, it’s anybody’s guess, but water managers and boaters are hopeful for a second spill in June. “Due to the active low-pressure patterns ... McPhee is not filling at the anticipated rate,” DWCD’s Eric Sprague wrote Monday. “As a result, the spill may be temporarily shut down around the end of the month in order to allow the reservoir to fill before beginning releases again.”
When this would happen and for how long largely depends on the next several days. Unfortunately, there is still a large amount of uncertainty with runoff models and weather forecasts. “There is a good chance ... in early June of the possibility of a high-pressure ridge settling over the area, freeing inflows to follow more traditional and predictable runoff patterns,” Sprague wrote.
Water managers will continue to post updates on Mondays and Thursdays at doloreswater.com. Meanwhile, the unbridled San Miguel was flowing at a healthy rate this week, bolstering the Dolores’ flows at Gateway to a respectable 1,500 cfs.