Aspen Journalism is compiling a data dashboard highlighting metrics of local public interest, updated at least every Tuesday. Check back for updates as we add more features.
Crystal River streamflow close to its minimum instream flow
The USGS gauge on the Roaring Fork near Aspen at Stillwater, located upstream of town and two major diversion ditches, measured streamflow at 18.5 cfs on Oct. 31, which represents 51.4% of average. A week before, the river was flowing at 18.4 cfs. On Oct. 31, 2020, the river ran at 17.8 cfs.
The ACES gauge, located near the Mill Street Bridge in central Aspen, measured the Roaring Fork at an average of 21.49 cfs on Oct. 31, up from 20.98 cfs on Oct. 24. The river ran at 20.94 cfs on that day last year.
Roaring Fork streamflow levels are back to being below the minimum instream flow of 32 cfs established by a 1976 water rights decree.
The Crystal River above Avalanche Creek, near Redstone, flowed at 91 cfs, or 108.8% of average on Oct. 31, which is up from 86 cfs on Oct. 24. That’s still nearly double the streamflow last year, when the river ran at 48 cfs on Oct. 31, 2020. The Crystal River at the CPW Fish Hatchery bridge ran at 104 cfs on Oct. 31. That puts the river near the minimum instream flow set at 100 cfs set by the 1979 water rights decree.
Lake Powell hitting new record low and could reach critical low water level next summer
Lake Powell could potentially fall below minimum power pool in 2022, which is an elevation of 3,490 feet, according to the U.S Bureau of Reclamation. “Should extremely dry hydrology continue into next year, Lake Powell could reach elevation 3,490 feet as early as July 2022,” the press release noted.
Lake Powell‘s storage kept getting lower this past week, reaching its lowest level recorded since it began filling in the 1960s and ’70s on Oct. 31, when the reservoir was 29.52% of full.
Last week, on Oct. 24, the reservoir was 29.57% of full. The reservoir’s capacity has fallen since last year, when on Oct. 31, 2020, the reservoir was 45.13% of full.
The surface elevation of Lake Powell is also in decline and hit a record low on Oct. 31, 2021, when the reservoir’s elevation dropped to 3,544.3 feet, or 155.8 feet from full pool. But the reservoir’s decline over the past month has slowed as it has lost only two inches since Oct. 24, when the elevation was at 155.6 feet from full pool. Last year, on Oct. 31, the reservoir reached 3,591.72 feet or 108.28 feet from full pool.
Air temperature in Aspen reached over 70°F last week
Aspen experienced a wide temperature swing, from a high of 74°F on Oct. 25, which is 21.5 degrees above normal, to a high on Oct. 27 of 40°F, which is 11.5 degrees below normal. Minimum temperature was averaging at around 30°F, from 28 °F to 34°F.
Seven days of ‘good’ air in Aspen
The air quality in Aspen was “good” this past week. The AQI index for ozone ranged from 31 on Oct. 28 and 29 to 39 on Oct. 26.
- Colorado’s Division of Water Resources
- Bureau of Reclamation
- Aspen Consolidated Sanitation District
- Aspen Global Change Institute