Skip to main content

McPhee Release Update for Tuesday June 11, 2019


McPhee is currently releasing high flows of approximately 2,600 CFS downstream.

  • Managers increased releases on Sunday to 2,600 CFS to abate reservoir elevation gain as inflows into McPhee Reservoir exceeded projected peak inflows over the weekend.
  • After receiving new forecast information today, releases are now expected to increase to high flows of approximately 3,000 CFS Wednesday and remain there through the week and potentially into the weekend, June 15th and 16th. Current inflow forecasts are now predicting that another peak which is forecasted to arrive this Saturday may be on par with or potentially greater than the peak inflows experienced last Sunday, June 9th. This would cause McPhee to rise in elevation more rapidly than intended, and releases are being increased to prepare for this possibility.
  • Following the weekend, releases are expected to ramp down as inflows recede, though timing and target flows are still uncertain. Upcoming, smaller peaks in inflows while the river recedes are likely.

Releases will remain at or above 1,200 CFS through Sunday June 23rd, after which flows are yet to be determined. Based on the margin of error in current inflow forecasts, it is possible there will be additional rafting days after June 23rd – this should become more clear in coming weeks. Details on flows following June 23rd should be available the week beforehand. More details will continue to be announced on later posts.

On Sunday morning, June 9th, inflows into McPhee reached a peak of 4,880 CFS. This peak was both higher and earlier than forecasted, filling McPhee faster than was expected when the Thursday June 6th update was posted.

Like on Sunday, the possibility remains for the next couple of weeks that inflows will increase significantly beyond what was modelled. If the reservoir is too full when this occurs, managers can be forced to respond by increasing releases steeply with little notice. To mitigate the possibility of this when inflows peak again this weekend, releases are now scheduled to increase steadily to high flows of about 3,000 CFS starting tomorrow morning, Wednesday June 12th, and remain there through the present week and potentially into the weekend, June 15th and 16th.

Please continue to check back on this site regularly for new updates, primarily on Mondays and Thursdays.

Currently, a high-pressure system is present over central Colorado, and above average temperatures are expected through Friday June 14th. The high temperatures combined with the substantial amount of snowpack remaining at high elevations are expected to sustain inflows around 4,000 CFS through to the weekend.

Afterwards, a slow-moving low-pressure system is expected to move into the region and pass over the Dolores River headwaters – beginning this weekend and extending into next week –increasing cloud cover and precipitation. It is not yet known how much of an effect this system will have on inflows into McPhee.

If you have questions, the best way to address DWCD is through the “Contact” page of this website. Otherwise you can try calling 970-882-2164 extensions 5, 1 or 6.

Dolores Gage:

McPhee Elevation & Capacity:

Dolores below McPhee:

Slickrock Gage:

Bedrock Gage: