Aspen Journalism is compiling a data dashboard highlighting metrics of local public interest, updated weekly.
Streamflows down from last week
Transbasin diversion stopped on Oct. 21 after resuming around Oct. 12.
At Stillwater, located upstream of Aspen, the Roaring Fork River ran at 20.3 cfs on Oct. 22, or 53.4% of average, down from last week when the river ran at 23 cfs and 56.1% of average.
Water through the tunnel that sends Roaring Fork flows east of the Continental Divide went from 19.7 cfs on Oct. 15 to 1.6 cfs on Oct. 22.
The USGS sensor below Maroon Creek recorded the Fork running at 135 cfs on Oct. 22, or 100% of average, down from 138 cfs but up from 96.5% of average, on Oct. 15.
At Emma, below the confluence with the dam-controlled Fryingpan, the Oct. 22 streamflow of 336 cfs represented about 96.8% of average. That’s down from 383 cfs on Oct. 15 and from 100.5% of average.
Meanwhile, the Crystal River above Avalanche Creek, which is not impacted by dams or transbasin diversions, flowed at 65 cfs or 70.3% of average. Last week, the river ran at 70 cfs, or 69.4% of average.
The Colorado River ran at 2,270 cfs at Glenwood Springs, or 108.1% of average, on Oct. 22, up from 2,330 cfs last week, while the Colorado flowed at 3,690 cfs near the Colorado-Utah stateline, or 91.6% of average.
Aspen Journalism is compiling real time streamflow data. You can find all the featured stations from the dashboard with their real-time streamflow on this webpage.
Lake Powell’s water levels have been relatively unchanged since last week
Lake Powell‘s water levels began their seasonal rise in mid-March as warming temperatures initiated snowmelt, after the reservoir in the winter dropped to its lowest level on record since filling. Water levels peaked in early July and are now slowing decreasing. On Oct. 22, the reservoir was 37.49% full (based on updated 2017-18 sedimentation data). That’s down from Oct. 15, when the nation’s second-largest reservoir was at 37.52%.
Last year, on July 1, 2022, the Bureau of Reclamation revised its data on the amount of water stored in Lake Powell, with a new, lower tally taking into account a 4% drop in the reservoir’s total available capacity between 1986 and 2018 due to sedimentation. Aspen Journalism in July published a story explaining the that drop in storage due to sedimentation. We will be now using the 2017-18 sedimentation data only.
On Oct. 22, 2022, the reservoir was 25.03% full.
On Oct. 22, Lake Powell’s elevation reached 3,572.9 feet, or 127.1 feet from full pool, which is down from 3,573 feet on Oct. 15. Last year, on Oct. 22 the reservoir reached 3,529.98 feet in elevation, or 170.02 feet from full pool.
The “minimum power pool” for turbines generating hydropower at the Glen Canyon Dam is 3,490 feet, and 3,525 feet has been set as a buffer to ensure that the reservoir and the turbines can continue to function properly.
Above-average air temperatures recorded at ASE
High air temperatures at the Aspen airport went from 38°F on Oct. 12 to 70°F on Oct. 16, which is about 14 degrees above average. Maximum air temperatures reached 69°F on Oct. 19. Meanwhile, low temperatures went from 25°F on Oct. 14 to 32°F on Oct. 19.
Clean air in Aspen
The air quality in Aspen was “good.” The air quality index for ozone ranged from 33 on Oct. 16 and Oct. 1 to 41 on Oct. 20-21.
- Colorado’s Division of Water Resources
- Bureau of Reclamation
- Aspen Consolidated Sanitation District
- Aspen Global Change Institute