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Navajo Reservoir release to increase to 5,000 cfs Thursday

The Animas River was flowing high over Memorial Day weekend. (Courtesy city of Farmington)
Residents advised to use caution, prepare

The Bureau of Reclamation is continuing to schedule releases for the spring peak release from Navajo Reservoir.

Monday, releases were at 4,000 cubic feet per second and increased to 4,300 cfs Tuesday. Wednesday will see another increase to 4,600 cfs with Thursday releases hitting 5,000 cfs around 10 a.m.

A news release stated that the changes are based on river conditions and are coordinated with federal, state and local agencies.

Susan Behery, hydraulic engineer with the Bureau, said in a news release that “during spring operations, releases from the Navajo Unit will be made in an attempt to remain at or below the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers safe channel capacity of 5,000 cfs between Navajo Reservoir and the confluence with the Animas River in Farmington, and 12,000 cfs downstream of Farmington. The release may be changed or reduced if the precipitation forecast shows a risk of exceeding safe channel capacity in the San Juan River.”

As of Tuesday morning, the Animas River was flowing around 3,720 cfs through Farmington, and La Plata River's discharge into the San Juan River was around 150 cfs.

The San Juan River station near Fruitland shows that as of Tuesday morning, the San Juan, Animas and La Plata rivers combined for about 7,500 cfs.

Lake Navajo’s water elevation was recorded at 6,023.03 feet Tuesday morning, with an inflow of minus 5,197 cfs and an outflow of 3,950 cfs.

San Juan County Office of Emergency Management posted that the areas around the rivers were being monitored closely.

Behery added that “areas in the immediate vicinity of the river channel may be unstable and dangerous. River crossing may change and be impassable as flows increase.” She advised residents to “use extra caution near the river channel and protect or remove any valuable property in these areas.”

Sandbags have been made available to residents in the flood plain. Emergency Management said it will continue to coordinate with the Bureau and advise water managers of impacts to property.